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

  • CTA
  • SPC
  • CEPaCT

     genebank locations
    Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the locations of Pacific genebanks. Click here to download a regional directory of genebanks in the Pacific, including information on their location, contact details and holdings.

    PAPGREN partners

    Mr William Wigmore
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture
    Department of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 96
    Cook Islands
    Tel: (682) 28711-29720
    Fax: (682) 21881
    Email: cimoa@oyster.net.ck

    Mr Adelino S. Lorens
    Agriculture Pohnpei
    Office of Economic Affairs
    P.O. Box 1028
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Tel: (691) 3202400
    Fax: (691) 3202127
    Email: pniagriculture@mail.fm

    Dr Lois Englberger
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    Research Advisor
    P.O. Box 2299
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Email: nutrition@mail.fm

    Mr Apisai Ucuboi
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
    Koronivia Research Station
    P.O. Box 77
    Fiji Islands
    Tel: (679) 3477044
    Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
    Email: apisainu@yahoo.com

    Dr Maurice Wong
    Service du Developpement Rural
    B.P. 100
    Tahiti 98713
    French Polynesia
    Tel: (689) 42 81 44
    Fax: (689) 42 08 31
    Email: maurice.wong@rural.gov.pf

    Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
    Head, Research Section
    Division of Agriculture
    Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
    P.O. Box 267
    Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
    Fax: (686) 28121
    Email : agriculture@tskl.net.ki; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com

    Mr Frederick Muller
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 1727
    Majuro 96960
    Marshall Islands
    Tel: (692) 6253206
    Fax: (692) 6257471
    Email: rndsec@ntamar.net

    Mr Herman Francisco
    Bureau of Agriculture
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 460
    Koror 96940
    Tel: (680) 4881517
    Fax: (680) 4881725
    Email: bnrd@pnccwg.palaunet.com

    Ms Rosa Kambuou
    Principal Scientist PGR
    NARI Dry Lowlands Programme
    Laloki Agricultural Research Station
    P.O. Box 1828
    National Capital District
    Papua New Guinea
    Tel: (675) 3235511
    Fax: (675) 3234733
    Email: kambuou@global.net.pg

    Ms Laisene Samuelu
    Principal Crop Development Officer
    Crops Division
    Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
    P.O. Box 1874
    Tel: (685) 23416-20605
    Fax: (685) 20607-23996
    Email: lsamuelu@lesamoa.net

    Mr Jimi Saelea
    Director of Research
    Department of Agriculture and Livestock
    P.O. Box G13
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 27987

    Mr Tony Jansen
    Planting Materials Network
    Kastom Gaden Association
    Burns Creek, Honiara
    P.O. Box 742
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 39551
    Email: kastomgaden@solomon.com.sb

    Mr Finao Pole
    Head of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
    P.O. Box 14
    Tel: (676) 23038
    Fax: (676) 24271
    Email: thaangana@hotmail.com

    Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
    Head of Research
    Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
    Private Mail Bag 040
    Port Vila
    Tel: (678) 22525
    Fax: (678) 25265
    Email: flehi@hotmail.com

    Other links

    Other CROP agencies
    Forum Secretariat
    University of the South Pacific

    Pacific biodiversity
    Biodiversity hotspots
    Breadfruit Institute
    Hawaiian native plants
    Intellectual property rights
    Nature Conservancy
    WWF South Pacific Program

    Other Pacific organizations
    Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
    Micronesian Seminar
    Te Puna web directory

    Pacific news
    Cafe Pacific
    CocoNET Wireless
    Island Directory
    Pacific Islands News
    Pacific Islands Report
    Pacific Islands Travel
    Pacific Time
    South Pacific travel
    Time Pacific

    Interested in GIS?



    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    PAPGREN course on PGR documentation held

    PAPGREN organized a course on PGR documentation on 9-13 August 2004 at the SPC Media Centre, Suva, Fiji. Some 12 people participated, from 7 Pacific Island Countries. Documentation was chosen as the topic in response to information gathered in previous network meetings and also by means of an email questionnaire sent out to assess training needs. The SPC PGR and RGC Advisers were the main resource people. The course included lectures by various resource people, practical exercises, demonstrations, group discussions, presentations by participants, and a field trip to Koronivia and Nadurulolo Research Stations, just outside Suva. All participants took home a folder containing a large number of resources, including handouts of the main presentations, descriptor lists and other materials relevant to PGR documentation. All these materials, and also background documents on PAPGREN, were provided also on CD-ROM. There was a generally good reaction to the course by participants. Some suggestions for follow-up were made, and these will be pursued by PAPGREN in the coming months. The course was organized by SPC, was supported financially by NZAID and received technical backstopping from IPGRI.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    Views of Fiji

    Just testing....

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    El Nino warning for PNG

    Authorities say weather patterns point to repeat of 1997 dry season



    Papua New Guinea could face another 1997 size El Nino weather phenomenon if developing weather conditions over the Pacific basin holds course over the next couple of months.The National Weather Office attributed this to significant alterations to global climatic conditions due to a shift of warm surface water from around PNG to the Eastern Pacific Rim. The National Disaster and Emergency Office (NDES) also confirmed yesterday that they are aware of this development and will closely monitor the situation.

    “There is a likelihood that El Nino could occur in the next couple of months and we (NDES) must warn the people of the likely effects,” Brian Mattner, the Operations Advisor with NDES said. The Weather Office’s principle climatologist Samuel Maiha related the abnormal weather conditions experienced in the country recently involving unprecedented heavy rains in certain parts of PNG including Port Moresby (456.2 mm), cold temperatures throughout the nation and devastating winds in the New Guinea Islands to this weather development.

    In the 1997 El Nino, the whole of PNG experienced extreme dry conditions which affected the entire pattern of plant and animal, including human lives in the nation for a full year. Currently, some parts of the country are already experiencing severe dry conditions and they may continue to do so over the next three months of September, October and November, he said.

    The Western province, through its Fly Provincial Government, had already been issued a warning to conserve water and be prepared for the extreme dry conditions over the next three months.The Weather Office reported on Tuesday that the Fly River level has dropped to a record low 2 meters in certain places due to the dry weather. And according to rainfall statistics provided by Mr Maiha, the province’s capital - Kuinga had already gone below normal- hitting the “driest 30% mark”.

    Major business houses in Kiunga and Tabubil are running out of stock for basic goods and services because of the low water level.

    “Nothing can grow there now,” Mr Maiha said yesterday, adding that the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) had also been advised to warn people to be prepared for the dry spell. Weather Bureaus in other Southern Region provinces have also reported severe dry weather conditions.

    Parts of the Highlands are also into dry weather. A senior public servant arriving yesterday from the Chimbu province said the two major rivers in the province, Wara Simbu and Whagi River, “have dried up”.

    The Weather Office’s general rainfall forecast for August through to November this year further confirms the likely onset of El Nino.

    According to their forecasts, the Western, Central and Milne Bay provinces will register below normal conditions with the Highlands and much of mainland PNG, New Britain, Manus and New Ireland below average.

    The Highlands region is also warned of moderate to high frost risk within the coming four months.

    Bougainville alone is forecasted to experience normal rainfall and weather conditions due to its proximity to the Eastern Pacific Rim.

    For December to January 2005, the office forecasts possible risk of either delayed or suppressed onset of the Monsoon Rains for the south coasts of PNG, which includes Central, Milne Bay, Western and Gulf provinces but projected normal rainfall for the Highlands.
    “It is too early yet to predict any continuation of these anticipated dry conditions beyond March 2005 but it may be wise for farming communities in rural areas to switch to alternative crops with a shorter Maturing Period,” Mr Maiha advices.The office will continue to carefully monitor the situation for any further developments. Meantime, Mr Maiha said the rest of the world is experiencing abnormal climatic conditions as well, including heavy rains and flooding in Europe because of the changes here in the Pacific. Mr Maiha said PNG sits in the middle of an area considered as the “engine-room” of global climate and any climatic alterations here affects the whole global weather pattern.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Important regional meetings

    SPC is hosting in Suva, Fiji Islands, the first Regional Conference of Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry from 9 – 10 Sept. 2004, which will be followed by the first combined regional meeting of the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services from 13 – 17 Sept. 2004. You can find out more at http://spc.int/AC/artAgricultureForestryMeeting.htm. The issue of Plant Genetic Resources is on the agenda of both meetings, in particular regional reaction to the recent coming into force of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (http://www.fao.org/ag/cgrfa/itpgr.htm).

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    An article on kava

    Tavana, G., P. Stewart, S. Snyder, D. Ragone, K. Fredrickson, P.A. Cox, and J. Borel. 2003. Lack of evidence of kava-related hepatotoxicity in native populations in Savaii, Samoa. According to a Survey of Traditional Healers and Biomedical Practitioners. Herbalgram 59: 28-32.

    Here's how it starts...

    Kava — a beverage consisting of a cold-water infusion of the roots, rhizomes, or basal internodes of Piper methysticum Forst., Piperaceae — has long been symbol of respect and hospitality throughout the islands of Polynesia, western Melanesia, and Micronesia. Kava is served ceremonially to welcome village guests, to inaugurate new chiefs, and to bind communities together. Although specific kava rituals differ from place to place, the basic structure of the kava ceremony is surprisingly similar from island to island. Typically, kava ceremonies are accompanied by ornate rhetoric and supplications to God, coupled with expressions of respect to the chiefs and other dignitaries present. Kava is mildly psychoactive, but its tranquilizing effects are both subtle and nuanced; as a result, kava tends to facilitate social interactions in contrast to plant-based hallucinogenic snuffs or mushrooms, which produce such powerful experiences that indigenous peoples believe their souls are transported to another world...

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Sunday, August 22, 2004

    The future of the kava industry

    A press release from the Itternational Kava Executive Council:

    We are sitting on a multi-million dollar industry which is calculated to have earned the Region US200 million dollars in 1998. Potentially, it is a multi-billion dollar industry if it becomes a world commodity. The International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) is working in collaboration with the Forum Secretariat and the Governments of Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji to make that a reality.

    In Europe we are targeting Germany because they were responsible for opening the pharmaceutical markets for all Europe and were responsible for the ban in 2000 after their own health regulatory authority “BfArM” claimed through some weird clinical studies that Kava product had caused liver failures in 76 cases reported across Europe. An indepth “Phytopharm 2003 Kava Report” rejected this claim because of insufficient case reports. This report went further to prove that only one case out of the 76 had used kava products. Furthermore, it is the most conclusive scientific report claiming Kave as an extra-ordinary safe herbal medicine.

    The damage caused by the German Health authority on our small economies is immense but fortunately, the German Government through their Minister for Health decided 6 months ago to reverse the situation by reviewing their stand and will announce their decision next month (September). This was made possible through relentless diplomatic pressure by our Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in London and Brussels. We expect a positive response from the Germans, after all there were upto 1.5 million daily kava users in Germany before the ban came into force in 2001. Secondly, most EU States are merely waiting for the Germans to announce their decision because it is the leading authority in the herbal pharmaceutical industry.

    The UK-Medicines & Health Care Products Regulatory Authority's announcement to commence review of their position from January 2005, was expected and is a blessing to us and will impact on our strategies for opening up the EU markets and the rest of the world. The US-Federal Drug Agency did not apply the ban, but had placed a lot of restrictions on fair trade which caused untold damages to US companies removing Kava products and exports ceasing altogether. A lot of our struggles in Europe would have been in vain had we not had the support and assistance of the EU Funding Agencies, CDE and Pro-Invest and in the Region, our own Forum Secretariat. With their support, we now have a fully funded International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) with its HQ in Brussels. Membership includes EU States and the Regional States of Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu with the Forum as partner.

    IKEC in collaboration with the Forum Secretariat, USP, FSM, SPC and Government of Fiji are sponsoring the International Kava Conference (IKC 2004). There will be over 100 participants including renowned Scientists from Europe and around the world, economists, traders, stakeholders and Government representatives from the Region. IKC 2004 will be held in Suva, Fiji between 30th November and 3rd December, 2004 and special invitations have been extended to the four Prime Ministers of the main Kava-producing countries, i.e. Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga whose support is crucial in our drive to lay to rest all issues in respect of the safety and efficacy of Kava as a dynamic herbal medicine and lifting of trade bans and restrictions.

    Based on the current WTO ruling on trade liberalisation and EU/ACP protocols on the sugar trade regime, Kava as an agro-based export commodity, we believe could be the alternative to sugar trade to the EU for Fiji and ultimately will be the multi-billion dollar foreign income earner for the Region. We are currently focusing our efforts in Europe, the USA, Canada, our neighbours Australia and New Zealand but are definitely strategically targeting the more lucrative Asian markets of India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand where 60% of their total population still depend on herbal medicine and health food products. The international markets are mainly in the pharmaceutical drug industry and the neutracautical herbal health food industry.

    Chairman, Fiji Kava Council / Co-Chair of IKEC
    Chairman IKC 2004 – Local Organising Committee
    Ph: (679) 338 6578; Mob: (679) 926 9745; Fax: (679) 337 1844

    19 August 2004

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Friday, August 20, 2004

    Two papers on breadfruit

    News from Diane Ragone of two recent papers on breadfruit. Here are the details.

    Complex origins of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae): implications for human migrations in Oceania.
    Nyree J. C. Zerega, Diane Ragone and Timothy J. Motley
    American Journal of Botany. 2004. 91: 760-766.

    ABSTRACT: Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae), a traditional starch crop in Oceania, has enjoyed legendary status ever since its rolein the infamous mutiny aboard the H.M.S. Bounty in 1789, yet its origins remain unclear. Breadfruit's closest relatives are A. camansi and A. mariannensis. DNA fingerprinting data (AFLP, amplified fragment length polymorphisms) from over 200 breadfruit cultivars, 30 A. camansi, and 24 A. mariannensis individuals were used to investigate the relationships among these species. Multivariate analyses and the identification of species-specific AFLP markers indicate at least two origins of readfruit. Most Melanesian and Polynesian cultivars appear to have arisen over generations of vegetative propagation and selection from A. camansi. In contrast, most Micronesian breadfruit cultivars appear to be the result of hybridization between A. camansi-derived breadfruit and A. mariannensis. Because breadfruit depends on humans for dispersal, the data were compared to theories on the human colonization of Oceania. The results agree with the well-supported theory that humans settled Polynesia via Melanesia. Additionally, a long-distance migration from eastern Melanesia into Micronesia is supported.

    Nomenclature of breadfruit cultivars in Samoa: Saliency, ambiguity and mononomiality
    Diane Ragone, Gaugau Tavana, Joan M. Stevens, Patricia Ann Stewart, Rebekka Stone, Paul Matthew Cox and Paul Alan Cox
    Journal of Ethnobiology. 2004. 24(1): 33-49.

    ABSTRACT: Breadfruit is an important subsistence crop in the Samoan archipelago where numerous cultivars are grown and used. The diversity of breadfruit in Samoa is indicative of its antiquity and value to this society. The purpose of our study was to document and compare knowledge of breadfruit names by Samoans of a wide range of ages in both rural villages and towns and to test the relationship between saliency and binomiality. A total of 354 people were interviewed and 46 cultivar names were recorded. A binomial is used to name a breadfruit - the generic term 'ulu is given first and a second word is added to describe that particular cultivar - when the second word used alone could refer to something other than breadfruit. A monomial is used only when this term does not refer to anything else or has no other meaning. There was no significant relationship between saliency and binomiality of breadfruit names and a significant relationship between binomiality and linguistic ambiguity. A useful outcome of this study was defining 60 Samoans as "experts" using statistical measures that we will use in continuing ethnobotanical studies in Oceania and may have broader application.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Cultivar Recognition in Micronesia: Banana, Breadfruit, Giant Swamp Taro and Pandanus

    This is the title of a new paper by Lois Englberger, Maureen H. Fitzgerald, and Geoffrey C. Marks, just accepted by PGR Newsletter. Should be out before the end of the year. Here's the abstract:

    There are many cultivars of the locally-grown staple foods, banana, breadfruit, giant swamp taro, and pandanus, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), some varying greatly in nutrient content. The objective of this investigation was to document present cultivar recognition, in order to provide information for developing a food-based intervention for dietary improvement and alleviation of vitamin A deficiency. An ethnographic approach using key informant interviews in Kosrae and Pohnpei, two FSM states, explored recognition of the above-listed foods. Data are presented from three groups of informants: community informants, college students, and child caretakers (mostly women). Despite the trend in FSM towards consumption of imported foods, the findings indicated that there is still a considerable knowledge of the food cultivars investigated. Cultivar recognition varied by food and participant’s age, gender, and island. Cultivar recognition was greatest for banana, students naming eight cultivars on average. Caretakers easily named the banana and pandanus cultivars that they had eaten. In FSM, understanding cultivar recognition and cultivar differences (including cultivar-specific data on food composition) is important for assessing food-based interventions promoting vitamin A-rich cultivars and dietary assessment. Such understanding also represents cultivar biodiversity, food security, and cultural integrity. Cultivar recognition and cultivar differences are also likely to be important in other Pacific countries and elsewhere where these foods are eaten.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment


    October 2002

    November 2002

    December 2002

    January 2003

    February 2003

    March 2003

    April 2003

    May 2003

    June 2003

    July 2003

    August 2003

    September 2003

    October 2003

    November 2003

    December 2003

    January 2004

    February 2004

    March 2004

    April 2004

    May 2004

    June 2004

    July 2004

    August 2004

    September 2004

    October 2004

    November 2004

    December 2004

    January 2005

    February 2005

    March 2005

    April 2005

    May 2005

    June 2005

    July 2005

    August 2005

    September 2005

    October 2005

    November 2005

    December 2005

    January 2006

    February 2006

    March 2006

    April 2006

    May 2006

    June 2006

    July 2006

    August 2006

    September 2006

    October 2006

    November 2006

    December 2006

    January 2007

    February 2007

    March 2007

    April 2007

    May 2007

    June 2007

    July 2007

    August 2007

    September 2007

    October 2007

    November 2007

    December 2007

    January 2008

    February 2008

    March 2008

    April 2008

    May 2008

    June 2008

    July 2008

    August 2008

    September 2008

    October 2008

    November 2008

    December 2008

    January 2009

    February 2009

    March 2009

    April 2009

    May 2009

    June 2009

    July 2009

    August 2009

    September 2009

    October 2009

    November 2009

    January 2010

    RSS Feed
    Alternative feed
    Contact Tevita


    Something new:

    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

    PestNet: For on-line information, advice and pest identification for the Pacific and beyond. Contact: Grahame Jackson.



    Pacific Mapper: For on-line mapping of point data over satellite images of the Pacific provided by Google Maps.



    DIVA-GIS: For free, easy-to-use software for the spatial analysis of biodiversity data.


    Locations of visitors to this page