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?



    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Keeping island states above water

    Below are reproduced the views of Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the particular development challenges faced by Small Island States. I've highlighted the paragraph on PGR in bold.

    Top government and United Nations officials from around the world are meeting this week in Mauritius to assess the progress made in helping some 40 Small Island Developing States to overcome the many economic and environmental difficulties that threaten their very existence.

    Rarely has a long-planned conference been more timely than this one, which comes less than three weeks after the tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people and destroyed millions of lives and livelihoods around the Indian Ocean basin. The Tsunami brought home the vulnerability of small islands to natural disasters by taking its heaviest toll in lives and property in island countries.

    The road to the Mauritius conference began long before this latest disaster. Some progress has been made to improve living standards in SIDS countries, but much remains to be done to strengthen their economies and their capacities to better withstand the shocks of both globalization and natural disasters.

    The effort to recognize and assist SIDS as a special group of states began in 1994 with the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS in Barbados. The conference adopted the Barbados Program of Action, which calls for specific actions and measures to be taken in support of the sustainable development of small island countries.

    The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development reaffirmed small islands as a special case, adopting a series of SIDS-specific issues and concerns in the Johannesburg Plan of Action. In a follow-up to the summit, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution that called for a comprehensive review of the Barbados Program of Action at an international meeting in Mauritius in 2004, 10 years after its adoption.

    While the threat from environmental changes, hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons is widely known, these islands face many other lesser known, but no less serious, challenges to the health and livelihood of their people and economies.

    The 1996 World Food Summit declaration and the Millennium Development Goals call on the world community to cut the number of hungry people in the world in half by 2015, recognizing that hunger and malnutrition are the leading causes of poverty and underdevelopment.

    Hunger and malnutrition pose a particularly serious threat for developing island countries, which were until the early 1990s, mostly self-reliant in food with their people enjoying healthy lives and lifestyles. Islanders lived in harmony with nature, preserving and harvesting their forestry and fishing resources and raising their livestock and crops.

    In recent years, all that has changed. Poverty, nutrition-related diseases and dependency on food imports are increasing at an alarming rate. The proportion of undernourished islanders is high. In 2002, 13 percent of Caribbean and Atlantic islanders were undernourished, while developing islands in the Pacific faced undernourishment rates of 14 percent.

    With the successful development of tourism and ensuing economic growth, including many lifestyle changes, islanders face a growing epidemic of chronic diseases linked to poor nutrition, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread and directly related to poor diets that are high in energy dense foods and low in fruits and vegetables, partly the result of expanding fast-food restaurant chains. Such traditionally cultivated species as taro, sweet potato and yam are now neglected. Uniform food production and consumption patterns, coupled with decreasing investment in agriculture and forestry, adversely affect the health and self-reliance of islanders and damage the natural resource base. The adoption of a few modern cultivars and the introduction of species alien to the islands are eroding biodiversity. Environmental vulnerability to natural disasters is increasing.

    To feed their growing populations, small island countries now depend on trade to feed their people, importing on average more than 30 percent of their cereal consumption needs. For several of these island countries, more than 50 percent of the calories consumed daily by their people comes from imported food products. In islands where tourism is the dominant activity, 50 to 95 percent of foods and beverages are imported.

    Globalization of the economy and the concentration of super and hypermarkets over the last five years are affecting what islanders grow and even the demand for their products in developed countries. To break out of this cycle of hunger, poverty and underdevelopment, sustainable agricultural development is vital. In almost all SIDS, 80 percent of agricultural export earnings are generated by the top five commodities including, sugar, bananas and fish products. At the same time, the availability of food in island countries is threatened by excessive dependence on food imports and the rising cost of these imports, which is increasing in proportion to total export earnings, low domestic production and productivity levels, and the inefficiencies of local markets.

    Since 1994 the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has assisted Small Island Developing States to increase food security by improving the efficiency of their food production systems. At FAO we believe that sustainable agriculture, including forestry and fisheries, has an important role to play in an effective strategy for growth in small island states. Soundly managed agriculture, forestry and fisheries increase self-reliance for island people and protect the environment in which they live.

    Improved agricultural diversity and better farming practices will not only improve food security for islanders, but will reduce the ravages these countries face when struck by natural disasters. Diversified agricultural production systems, effective fisheries management and planting hurricane-tolerant crops, together with good forestry practices, would all combine to improve the lives of islanders.

    This year, the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture entered into force. The legally binding treaty will help preserve agricultural genetic resources and the rights of farmers and indigenous communities. It will also ensure that plant genetic resources are conserved and used sustainably and that the benefits derived from them are shared equitably. These are advances that will serve SIDS countries well in their efforts to preserve food diversity for improved nutrition.

    While land resources on small islands are small, these islands govern large tracts of ocean. The FAO project Responsible Fisheries for Small Island Developing Countries focuses on the implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, to help SIDS strengthen the capacity of fisheries administrations in order to promote and facilitate responsible fisheries in support of social and economic development.

    FAO's National and Regional Food Security projects promote increased food security for islanders by increasing the efficiency of their food production systems and by facilitating the production of value added agricultural products. Because the islands depend on exports of primary commodities for a large share of their export earnings, they face serious challenges in this era of trade liberalization.

    Small Island Developing States are committed to the WTO reform process for agriculture, and many need special provisions to address their developmental goals and vulnerabilities. Trade liberalization must not be an end in itself, but rather a means to advance the development of small island countries. The FAO is providing trade facilitation support and policy assistance to developing islands, as well as promoting technology for increased productivity and competitiveness and improved institutional and technical capacities as a basis for trade expansion.

    The International Conference of SIDS in Mauritius, which continues in Port Louis till Friday, will gather the international community around the challenges that SIDS face in a rapidly changing world. It will be an opportunity to put things in perspective, to reflect on achievements and bottlenecks since the Barbados Agreement and to forge a long-term vision based on partnerships.

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