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?
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Posted 2:49 PM by Luigi
Collecting Banana Diversity in the Pacific
This just in from The Seed Savers' Foundation.
Michel Fanton, one of the directors at The Seed Savers' Foundation in Byron Bay, Australia, has just returned from two weeks in the Solomon Islands. His visit was to support the efforts of their partners the Kastom Garden Association (KGA) and its seed saving arm the Planting Material Network (PMN). The PMN has a programme to preserve the diversity of bananas on the outer island of Makira, a rich centre of domestication for bananas. Traditional varieties are fast disappearing. Since April 2002 the PMN has made three collections of more than one hundred and fifty types of bananas. This was done with the help of a grant passed on by The Seed Savers' Network with the aim of helping local subsistence farmers. There are only few kilometres of sealed roads on Makira, so the first collecting expedition was made by motor canoe and by foot along small tracks. Isolated villages with radio facilities were invited to donate their local banana varieties and delivered the suckers wrapped in woven coconut fronds and banana leaves.
Dorothy Tamasia, who is curating the two highland collections, was recently trained to describe th botany of bananas by international standards at an INIBAP course. She is now training girl students to recognize features of the plants, flowers, leaf shape and colour, trunk, etc. For the highland collection, Dorothy visited farmers from her language group in isolated villages she knows well. There are more than 70 languages in the Solomon Islands.
Students at the Manivovo Training Centre on the coast have contributed to the collection by bringing in banana suckers from their villages on their return from their annual holidays. Each variety is named and tagged with its origin, local name, donor's name and utilisation. Some varieties are valued for bride price, others at different ceremonies and feasts. Some particular varieties are chosen for making rafts for transport. The Makira bananas look and taste very different to the commercial Cavendish type banana that we consume in the West, and have more complex flavours.
This last three years Seed Savers has been able to pass on assistance to a growing number of community based organisations in Asia, Europe, the Pacific and Latin America. Groups supported in this last year were in Australia (50 local seed networks), Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cuba, Ecuador (new national network), India (5), Indonesia, The Solomons and Vanuatu. Thanks to our friends, supporters and volunteers. Seed savers volunteers are regularly spending time with some of these groups. Our latest volunteer Jan is now working in Bali with a local sustainable agriculture group on seed posters. Seed Savers has a Seed Saving and Working on Seed Projects course happening in Byron Bay, Australia starting on October 4th to 9th. Applications with resume welcome.
This article can be found on the Web here.
Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Seed Savers' Foundation website is at www.seedsavers.net.
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