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?
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Posted 8:29 PM by Luigi
Global Crop Diversity Trust Establishment Agreement signed by Samoa
This is a media communique issued yesterday by FAO.
On Tuesday 29 June 2004, His Excellency Mr. Tau'ili'ili Uili Meredith, Ambassador of Samoa to Italy signed the Agreement to Establish the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international fund whose goal is to help salvage the world's most important crop diversity collections and guarantee their ongoing healthy and safe management. The Trust seeks to match the long-term nature of conservation with long term secure and sustainable funding through an endowment whose proceeds will provide a permanent source of financial support for eligible crop diversity collections around the world. The Trust will also provide technical and capacity building assistance to collections seeking to become eligible for ongoing support. Finally, the Trust will promote and assist the development of a rational and efficient system of crop diversity conservation around the world.
Samoa is the seventh country to sign the Establishment Agreement for the Trust and the first from the Pacific region. The signature by Samoa is particularly significant, coming as it has on the historic day marking the coming into force of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The International Treaty brings together countries, farmers and plant breeders together and offers a multilateral approach for accessing genetic resources and sharing their benefits. The Trust is an essential element of the funding strategy of the International Treaty.
The Global Crop Diversity Trust is being established through a partnership of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) on behalf of the 15 Future Harvest Centres of the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR).
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Posted 1:47 PM by Luigi
Community-based ecoforestry protecting forests in Melanesia
Source: Community Forestry E-News 2004.05 May 2004
Melanesia, which includes Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kanaky (New Caledonia), Fiji, East Timor and West Papua (Indonesia), is unique in the world in that 95% of its land is still under community ownership by indigenous people. The forests they control are part of the largest remaining rainforest in the Asia Pacific region and the third largest tropical forest on Earth after the Amazon and Congo. Illegal and destructive industrial logging is rampant, mainly by Malaysian companies who have moved from Sarawak and elsewhere in Asia as the forests were exhausted. Associated with logging comes poor governance, corruption, lack of control and monitoring, and a situation where landowners receive very little financial benefit and suffer disastrous social and environmental impacts.
In response, for the last 15 years NGOs have targeted community forest management as a solution to the crisis in the forests and to support the customary forest owners. There is a wealth of successful examples of community forestry programmes as well as some that didn't last but were instructive in discovering the formula for success.
Most programmes have focused on training and marketing support. The Solomon Islands' Ecoforestry Programme has trained 56 landowning groups and is currently supporting 'ecotimber' production and exports providing a net value to communities of US$520,000 in the last 5 years, as well as protecting their 40 000 ha of forest from logging.
By: Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forests Campaigner, in: WRM Bulletin 82, May 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Posted 6:07 PM by Luigi
Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum (PBIF)
PBIF is a consortium of biodiversity information initiatives in the Pacific Region. It offers its collaborators an opportunity to pool knowledge and effort for the benefit of the region. Its Mission: Developing a complete, scientifically sound, and electronically accessible Pacific biological knowledge base and making it widely available to local, national, regional and global users for decision-making.
There are country datasets here: http://www.pbif.org/data/default.html
One of these is the excellent Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, being developed by Gerald McCormack of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Project.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Posted 4:03 PM by Luigi
Why was large-scale sweet potato farming in the Hawaiian archipelago confined to just a few areas?
The answer may lie in the soil. Writing in the June 11 edition of the journal Science, researchers conclude that relatively recent volcanic eruptions on Maui and the island of Hawai'i produced a handful of sites with soil nutritionally rich enough to raise large quantities of sweet potatoes. More details here.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Posted 3:28 PM by Luigi
If you go to the front page of the SPC website at http://spc.int/ you will see a short announcement for the new PAPGREN web pages. You can also go directly to http://www.spc.int/pgr/. Many thanks to Vandna Lal for doing all the hard work!
This is a work in progress, so please write to me with any feedback, comments, suggestions for improvement etc. Also tell me if you'd like any documents or other information on PGR conservation and use in the Pacific included on the website, or indeed in the weblog (which is mainly for news items) at http://papgren.blogspot.com/ (or see the link on the website).
Monday, June 07, 2004
Posted 6:50 PM by Luigi
More on the bananas of Pohnpei
This news just received from Adelino Lorens and Lois Englberger in Pohnpei.
Jeff Daniells is a banana expert from the Agency for Food and Fibre Sciences, Department of Primary Industries (DPI), South Johnstone, Queensland, Australia. He is currently visiting Pohnpei funded by a United Nations Children's Fund grant on micronutrients made to the Island Food Community of Pohnpei. Jeff has now seen all of the 42 banana varieties listed by the Pohnpei Farmers Workshop last October, others that were not listed at that time, including Uht Kapakap, and also the varieties introduced from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Regional Germplasm Centre (RGC).
He is giving a talk in Pohnpei tomorrow, when he will talk about various issues in banana production and management, including:
Classification of Pohnpei banana varieties
Introduced banana varieties
Fusarium wilt (a fungal disease)
Black sigatoka disease
Catherine Sundvall, who has been experimenting with different Karat banana recipes in Pohnpei, will also be providing a treat of one of her Karat Ice Cream recipes.
Posted 3:20 PM by Luigi
New molecular biodiscovery and biomedicine laboratory at the University of PNG
By Martina Darius
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 6) - Postgraduate students at the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medical and Health Sciences will now be able conduct research on local marine organisms and plant species thanks to an American university.
Deputy Chief Of Mission at the United States Embassy, Thomas Niblock, yesterday inaugurated a molecular biodiscovery and biomedicine laboratory built by UPNG and the University of Utah, and supported by the Fogarty International Center/USA National Institute of Health.
"The U.S. encourages collaboration and this project is aimed at finding solutions to global issues that affects this generation and the next," said Mr Niblock.
He said the U.S. government was pleased to contribute to the project and would continue providing assistance in areas involving research.
"The laboratory signifies an important role UPNG is playing in the research of marine organisms and plant species that could cure diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, cancer and HIV/AIDS," said Dr Lohi Matainaho, senior lecturer and medical scientist. Collaborated researches will be conducted by the two universities to extract molecules in the PNG environment to convert into drugs for curable diseases.
The University of Utah will also help train Papua New Guineas in medical research and other areas.
June 7, 2004
The National: www.thenational.com.pg
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Posted 4:28 PM by Luigi
Taro in Vanuatu
There's an article on taro in Vanua Lava, an island in the northern part of Vanuatu in the March 2004 (vol 20:1) issue of the Magazine on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA), which is devoted to so-called "under-utilized crops". The main author is Sophie Caillon, a PhD student at IRD, France. She first describes taro diversity in the village of Vêtuboso in some detail:
"At present, 96 taro cultivars are grown in the village. A survey carried out among 12 farmers growing 51 of the cultivars and complemented by a DNA diversity study, revealed that each named cultivar corresponded to a separate genotype. Six cultivars were described as ‘common’ as they represent 83% of all planted taros, whereas 40 cultivars were classified as ‘rare’ (8% of all planted taro). As each farmer plants an average of about 20 cultivars, he or she usually grows six common taro and 14 intermediary and rare ones."
She then goes on to outline a strategy for the promotion of taro based on increasing farmer access to diversity, by both introducing and testing new varieties and assisting farmers in developing new varieties through crossing.
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.