A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Posted 8:59 PM by Luigi
News from Kiribati
The Agriculture Division of the Minister for Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development of Kiribati will be expanding its germplasm collection to include the outer islands, where most people are living and are more dependant on agriculture than in South Tarawa. The staff of the Crop Improvement and Agroforestry Section will set up four genebanks (breadfruit varieties, banana, pandanus, citrus and other important food crops) for local and introduced food crops on Tabiteuea North in the Southern group. The genebank will cater for the seven islands as it is the main transit for flights to the Southern group.
Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Division of Agriculture
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
PO Box 267
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Posted 2:30 PM by Luigi
A study on the conservation status of bamboo species globally has just been published by INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan) and UNEP-WCMC (United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre). It shows that many bamboo species, including relatives of those cultivated commercially, have tiny amounts of forest remaining within their native ranges. You can find out more about the report (and download it) here:
For the Pacific region, the report shows areas of potentially moderately high bamboo richness (11-32 species) in parts of Papua New Guinea. See this map. The highest levels of species richness occur in southern China, with some areas having up to 140 species.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Posted 2:00 PM by Luigi
Betel Nut in Yap
An article in Pacific Magazine and Islands Business describes the Yap betel nut industry, worth US $3 million in the year up to Feb. 2004. The trade has fueled an entrepreneurial spirit in Yap.
What the article does not say, is that unfortunately the typhoon "Sudal" has since devastated Yap (at the beginning of April). Dietmar Braeutigam of SPC's Forestry Programme, who visited the island recently, tells me that it has destroyed more than 90% of the island's vegetation, including their diverse agroforestry systems. It will take some time for Yap's betel nut industry to recover.
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Posted 3:02 PM by Luigi
More on the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) on-line
A correction has been made to the MGIS webpage mentioned last week. The banana germplasm collection in PNG is maintained by NARI (not DAL) at Laloki, and this is now correctly reflected. Elizabeth Arnaud of INIBAP also informs us that a report entitled "Preliminary study of the literature on the distribution of wild Musa species using MGIS and DIVA-GIS" is now available on-line at
This report was produced after 6-month internship of Patrick Pollefeys sponsored by The Ministry of International Relations in Québec. INIBAP would be grateful for any feedback and further contributions to this study from researchers working on wild Musa species in this region.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Posted 3:02 PM by Luigi
“The business of NARI is information”
This quote is taken from the mandate statement of PNG's National Agricultural Research Institute. There's a piece on NARI's information and communication activities in CTA's Spore magazine, online at:
Here's an excerpt from the article: "Having first released three varieties of taro (see Spore 105), NARI used the grand opening of their new HQ in November 2003 to publicise nine other releases. The dignitaries – Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, three provincial governors, and diplomats – took on the intermediary role of receiving seeds, planting materials or bio-control agents from NARI scientists and handing them on to a leading farmer or extension agent. Among the releases were four rice varieties, drought-resistant or early-maturing sweet potato cultivars and cassava, five superior banana varieties for testing; and two biological control agents: a wasp for the diamondback moth pest of brassicas, and a moth for Chromolaena weed."
The article includes a photograph of NARI's Principal Scientist for PGR, Mrs Rosa Kambuou.
Posted 2:39 PM by Luigi
Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) on-line
MGIS is hosted by the SINGER server at the following url: http://mgis.grinfo.net. This on-line database offers access to the information recorded by curators of 16 institutions holding a Musa field or in vitro collection, including PNG and Australia in the Pacific region (see list below). The in vitro collection of the INIBAP Transit Centre is recorded in this database along with the availability of material for exchange and records of shipments made to partners.
· Australia, Queensland Dept of Primary Industries (QDPI), South Johnstone research station
· Belgium, INIBAP Transit Centre
· Cameroon, Centre africain de recherches sur bananiers et plantains (CARBAP), Nyombe
· France, CIRAD-Guadeloupe research station
· Honduras, Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agricola (FHIA)
· India, National Research Center on Banana (NRCB), Trichy research station
· India, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore
· India, Kerala Agricultural University Banana Res. Station (KAU), Thrissur
· Indonesia, Research Institute for Fruits (RIF), Agency for Agricultural Res. and Development, Solok
· Kenya, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kisii
· Nigeria, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Onne
· Papua New Guinea, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Laloki research station
· Philippines, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Davao, field collection
· Republic of China, South China Agricultural University (SCAU)
· Uganda, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Kawanda
· Vietnam, Phu Ho Fruit Crop Research Center (FCRC)
Posted 2:30 PM by Luigi
World Census of Agriculture - Results for Pacific countries
The following page on the FAO website has links to summaries of agricultural censuses worldwide
Data on the following Pacific countries are included:
American Samoa: 1980, 1990, 2003
Cook Islands: 1988, 2000
Fiji: 1978-1979, 1991
Guam: 1977/1982, 1987/1992, 1997/2002
New Caledonia: 1983-1984, 1991-1992, 2002
North. Mariana Isl.: 1980, 1990, 1998/2002
Samoa: 1980, 1989, 1999
Posted 2:18 PM by Luigi
Pacific Science Exchange (PSE) has a website
The launch of the Pacific Science Exchange (PSE) website has been announced:
The PSE will now be centred around this website, rather than daily/weekly e-mails. The plan is to update the website every month or so with Pacific-relevant science events, comments, articles and information. To make the PSE website work, they need your input. If you would like anything put up on the PSE website, please send it to Rod Lamberts at the following email address:
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.