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?
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Posted 7:20 PM by Luigi
Priorities for crop improvement research in the Pacific
A regional workshop held in Lae on 6-7 December set priorities for a proposed food crop improvement programme in the Pacific. The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) organised the two-day consultation to discuss the Pacific Regional Crop Improvement Programme (PARCIP) at NARI’s Sir Alkan Tololo Research Center. Support was provided by NARI, by SPC’s PAPGREN projects (ACIAR and NZAID), by AusAID ACNARS (Australian Contribution to the National Agricultural Research System) and by FAO.
NARI Director General Dr. Raghunath Ghodake opened the workshop, which was attended by experts from several Pacific Island countries including Fiji, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia and a representative from the Regional Office of FAO. There was also input in writing from other regional experts who could not attend in person.
Crop improvement adviser of AusAID’s ACNARS project, Dr Davinder Singh, who previously worked as a breeder for the TaroGen project based at NARI, stated that PARCIP, aims to improve productivity and quality of major regional food crops by developing national and regional capacities in crop improvement. Above all, it is a coming together of Pacific Island countries to tackle the urgent problems that exist, and to help each other.
The meeting identified crop improvement research priorities building on and exploiting the wealth of crop germplasm present in the region, including both in germplasm collections and farmers' fields, and produced a framework for a collaborative approach. In addition, Dr Grahame Jackson gave a presentation on a proposal for the establishment of an informal regional expert group on food crops research, under the joint umbrella of SPC and FAO. The idea is to tap the knowledge of people from the region who have long experience working on the staple foods of the Pacific. The consultation approved the idea and Grahame was requested to pursue it with the other participants and the sponsors.
The PARCIP concept was initiated by NARI about a year ago to build on and extend the achievements of TaroGen and other crop improvement programmes in the region.
Posted 1:34 PM by Luigi
Update on the International Treaty on PGRFA
According to the FAO website, the Cook Islands acceded to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) on 2 December 2004. This is the first Pacific Island Coutry or Territory to accede to the ITPGRFA. Some 27 countries have acceded in total, though more than 40 instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession have been deposited with FAO. This was the number needed for the Treaty to come into force, which it did on 29 June 2004.
The following is from the FAO website:
The FAO Conference, at its Thirty-first Session (November 2001), through Resolution 3/2001, approved the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. In accordance with Article 25 of the Treaty, it was opened for signature at FAO Headquarters on 3 November 2001 and remained open for signature until 4 November 2002 by all Members of FAO and any States that are not Members of FAO but are Members of the United Nations, or any of its specialized agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Under Article 26, the Treaty is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the Members and non-Members of FAO referred to in Article 25. Instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval are deposited with the Director-General of FAO. Under Article 27, the Treaty is open for accession by all Members of FAO and any States that are not Members of FAO but are Members of the United Nations, or any of its specialized agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Instruments of accession are deposited with the Director-General of FAO.
In accordance with Article 28, the Treaty entered into force on the ninetieth day after the deposit of the fortieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, provided that at least twenty instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession have been deposited by Members of FAO. On 31 March 2004, 13 instruments (including the European Community) were deposited with the Director-General of FAO. Having reached the required number of instruments in order for the Treaty to enter into force (40), the date of entry into force is 29 June 2004.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Posted 7:20 PM by Luigi
PGR News from Tuvalu
This just in from the Monthly Update for Oct-Nov 2004 of the EU-funded SPC project Developing Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific. Plant genetic resources activities of different kinds feature in the workplans of most of the countries participating in the project. Thanks to Bernadette Masianini, DSAP Information Officer.
Agriculture Extension Officers on Nui and Niutao Island have been working hard preparing the DSAP nurseries for their respective islands. The islanders of Nui have agreed for DSAP to establish a gene bank for pandanus trees. Nui is the island in Tuvalu that has the largest number of pandanus varieties; DSAP is trying to ensure that all the different varieties will be in the nursery. Nui is also known as the island that has the dwarf variety of banana. DSAP has plans to mass produce the variety for other islands too. The island of Niutao has the dwarf variety of breadfruit that many people are keen to plant. DSAP has negotiated with the islanders and they have agreed for the project to mass produce it for other islands.
Posted 12:37 PM by Luigi
Atoll PGR Research in Papua New Guinea
From Louis Kurika of NARI in PNG.
The Atoll Research and Development Project at NARI Keravat has a number of components, one of which involves the establishment of the Atoll Germplasm Collection at Keravat. Germplasm collecting is done while team members are out doing baseline surveys of atoll farming systems in the provinces, which is another main component of the project. To date, only a small number of accessions have been collected, but this activity will intensify as we visit atolls in six provinces in PNG in 2005. The project is also distributing NARI recommended lowland varieties of food crops to the atolls to broaden their narrow crop base. The types of crops that are being supplied include: African yam (D. rotundata), drought tolerant sweet potato and cassava varieties, blight resistant taro varieties, open-pollinated corn varieties, varieties of peanuts and bele, popular varieties of banana as well as Alocasia spp. and giant swamp taro. We are at present establishing a fruit and nut orchard in one island group (Duke of York Islands) in East New Britain Province. The orchard will consist of the best eating varieties of fruit and nut trees, like rambutan, durian, mango, mangosteen, citrus, langset, okari, nutmeg etc.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Posted 2:20 PM by Luigi
Plant Talk about Breadfruit
The October 2004 issue of Plant Talk is a Special Edition on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. Breadfruit and the work of the Breadfruit Institute is featured in "News from the National Tropical Botanical Garden."
Posted 1:11 PM by Luigi
New Geneflow is out
There's a new issue of IPGRI's public awareness magazine Geneflow out, including a special section on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. There a lot of interesting stuff, inclusing three items of particular relevance to the Pacific.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Posted 12:18 PM by Luigi
New Sweet Potatoes for PNG
From CTA's latest Spore at http://spore.cta.int/spore114/spore114_brief.asp#a5.
The Lowlands Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES), the largest research station of the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), celebrated its 75th Anniversary by releasing 79 sweet potato varieties suitable for the normal lowland conditions of Papua New Guinea (PNG). These include four drought-tolerant varieties.The cultivars all have acceptable yields with good market and consumer appeal. They also have a range of other important traits which allow growers and users to choose the variety that best suits their needs or preferences, such as good tuber shape and colour (including orange tuber flesh colour with a high B-carotene content), dry matter content, processing characteristics, flesh texture after boiling and varying levels of sweetness.
The release of these cultivars will give farmers in lowland areas of PNG a wider range of superior sweet potato varieties to choose from and will improve their food security and income generation. The 79 varieties were selected from 1 167 varieties tested over a 9-year period by the European Union Pacific Regional AgriculturalProgram (PRAP) project. The potential impact of these elite varieties is considerable. Sweet potato is the major staple crop grown in PNG and is a food staple for approximately 60% of the rural population in the lowlands.The ability to select and grow varieties suitable for specific uses such as the fast food industry or processing into flour for the baking industry has the potential to increase the use of sweet potato products and could compete with existing flour or potato imports.
Website : www.nari.org.pg
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Posted 6:38 PM by Luigi
ACIAR's "South Pacific Indigenous Nuts" Online
Authors: M. L. Stevens, R. M. Bourke and B. R. Evans
This publication brings together most of the papers presented at a five day workshop held in Vanuatu in 1994. It includes 22 papers covering a wide range of issues associated with the production, processing and marketing of indigenous nuts.
Donwload it from the ACIAR website at http://www.aciar.gov.au/web.nsf/doc/ACIA-66K3T5
Monday, December 06, 2004
Posted 6:12 PM by Luigi
Gardening and football competitions in Kiribati
Just received this from Tianeti Beena of the Agriculture Division in Kiribati.
Saturday 4th December 2004 was DSAP day on Marakei island as competitions sponsored by the project came to a climax. DSAP is the EU-funded Developing Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific project. The DSAP committee on Marakei invited the Minister for Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development to be the guest of honour. Due to his committement to a Parliament session, the Honourable Minister could not attend, but the Deputy Secretary, the OIC for the Agriculture Division, the DSAP National Committee, and the three DSAP national staff went to Marakei to witness the progress of the project on the island and to award prizes.
All the schools on the island participated in a gardening competition. School gardens were properly fenced and planted; they had to have different varieties and no less than ten plants per variety. Tahiti Primary school won this competition. There was also a soccer competition. Youths had to have planted food crops in their homes before they were accepted to join the team. Lots of banana trees were planted and babai (giant swamp taro) cultivation also picked up because of this competition.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Posted 2:38 PM by Luigi
Taxonomic Key to PNG Plants
The following paragraph is taken from the website of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew at http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/herbarium/keys/fm/.
The Interactive Key to Malesian Seed Plants is an identification system for all native and naturalised (i.e. introduced species with self-maintaining 'wild' populations) families of the Flora Malesiana region (including Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, East Timor and Papua New Guinea). The key is based on a small set of features of the vegetative, floral and fruit morphology and ecology. These features were chosen because they are relatively easy to assess from any reasonably intact flowering and/or fruiting specimen, and are readily interpreted in conjunction with the help of the notes and illustrations contained in the key.
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.