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?



    Thursday, March 31, 2005

    Organic food in India

    As described in the article reproduced below, the market for organic food is expanding in India. Very different situation, of course, but are there some lessons here for the Pacific?

    By Nachammai Raman, correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, Madras, India

    In a seven-acre plot of farmland south of the city, T. Mohan hunches over to weed the soil he recently planted with sesame. He just harvested his paddy crop, which - as it has for the past 30 years - had a good yield.

    In three decades, Mr. Mohan has gone from a struggling paddy farmer to a prosperous one - using methods that are now discouraged by proponents of organic farming.

    More than 30 years ago, India eagerly embraced the genetically engineered high-yielding seed stock, chemical pesticides, and fertilizers of the Green Revolution to combat frequent famines. Dams and irrigation projects were built, enabling farmers to plant two or more crops a year without being dependent on the vagaries of the monsoon.

    The Green Revolution was so successful in India that it ramped up food grain production from 863 tons per hectare of cultivated land in 1967, when it began, to 1,901 tons per hectare in 2000.

    Now some of these gains that allowed India to feed itself are being challenged by the increasing European and American demand for organic food, from pesticide-free cashews to cold-pressed coconut oil.

    The spread of organic farming in India is beginning to pit concerns about the supply of food for the masses against what are widely considered the environmentally unsustainable practices of the Green Revolution.

    "The Green Revolution definitely had benefits but also many unwanted side effects that are becoming more apparent," says Gunter Pauli, founder-director of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives, based in Tokyo.

    In India, organic farming received a boost at the start of the new millennium when the income potential of organic exports was realized. According to Dr. P. Bhattacharya of the National Center of Organic Farming, in Ghaziabad, India represents one tenth of the world's organic cultivation.

    It may be more ecologically sound, but feeding India's bulging population of more than 1 billion people with organic crops alone has some experts worried about the increased risk of famine.
    "That's a major problem. That has to be solved," says G. Vaidyanathan, manager of Enfield Agrobase, which pioneered organic farming in the state of Tamil Nadu more than a decade ago. Much of its organic cultivation eventually goes to the lucrative export market.

    Experts estimate that 50 percent of India's organic crop is exported, while just 1 percent of the Indian population consumes organically grown food. "Affordability is a criterion because the prices are 20-25 percent more," says Vaidyanathan.

    Mawite, who goes by one name only, runs an organic cashew farm a two-and-a-half hour drive south of Madras, in Auroville. According to her, organically grown food costs more because of the labor-intensive farming it requires.

    "They spray inorganic cashew plantations twice a year and that's it. We have to prune, compost ... the soil base has to be good," says Mawite.

    Dr. K. Mani, professor of production economics at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, says Indian farmers, anxious about yields and demand, are unlikely to embrace organic production. Demand for organic food isn't high, he explains, because "price comes first and quality next" for the bulk of consumers here.

    "We buy what costs less," says T. Daniel, who earns $37 per month working as a security guard in an apartment building not far from Enfield Agrobase's organic retail outlet. His extended family of eight consumes three to four pounds of rice each day. His mother buys the maximum rations from the subsidized public distribution system, where rice costs 70 percent less than in regular stores.

    "It would be difficult for us otherwise," he says. The cheapest organic rice, meanwhile, costs nearly five times more than the conventional rice sold in markets.

    Ashok Khosla, director of Development Alternatives in New Delhi, says organic prices are steeper because sellers are pitching to a different clientele who are willing to pay.
    "The price has nothing to do with cost of production," he says.

    He insists that in India, organic production generally costs less than modern farming because it requires fewer investments in equipment and chemicals.

    He doesn't see organic and modern farming as incompatible. "Organic pest control by itself is probably not workable. Judicious use of chemicals may sometimes be required."

    Mr. Khosla suggests that organic farming's intense labor requirement may be a positive attribute. "What's wrong with labor intensive? Wouldn't you rather have people working on farms than migrating to city slums in search of work?"

    Khosla decried trying to produce crops that are not naturally suited to particular regions. Tanjavur, for example, is a water-scarce region that is used to grow rice, which is a water-intensive crop.

    He suggests instead growing a nutritious variety of millet, called bhajra - which is more suitable to Tanjavur's natural conditions - and importing rice from water-rich areas. "Of course, you've got to do the [economic] calculations."

    Pauli, of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives, goes a step further. "There is a need to do more with what the earth already produces, instead of trying to force the earth to produce more."

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    Spotlight on Traditional Medicine

    Traditional medicine is growing in popularity, yet standardised international regulation has still to be formulated, and the excessive use of medicinal plants can threaten biodiversity. SciDev.Net's new Spotlight on this topic highlights key issues in traditional medicine and features policy briefs on global standards and legislation as well as news and opinion articles, background reading material and links to useful sites.

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    New coconut variety from India

    The following has just appeared in the The Hindu newspaper's Farmers' Notebook feature.

    Ideal tender coconut variety for small farms

    By Our Agriculture Correspondent

    SCIENTISTS AT the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, in Kerala have found that an orange dwarf variety with early flowering and fruiting traits is an ideal tender coconut.

    "Our studies showed that Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD) as the best tender coconut variety. It yields nuts, which contain on an average 350 ml sweet water each. The water (liquid endosperm) has 7.1 g total sugars per 100 ml, and the mineral composition accounts for 20,000 ppm (parts per million) of potassium and 20 ppm of sodium," said Dr. V. Arunachalam, Scientist (Horticulture), CPCRI.

    Economic product

    For use as tender coconut the nuts have to be plucked when they are about seven to eight months after fertilization. The refreshing tender coconut water is a health drink, and it is one of the most important economic products of the coconut palm.

    CPCRI initiated research to find the suitability of different coconut varieties for use as tender coconuts, and screened them for high yield potential, quantity of water, organoleptic taste of the water and meat, minerals, vitamins, total soluble solids and total sugars.

    Compact internodes

    Based on the studies, Chowghat Orange Dwarf was adjudged the best, and it is recommended for commercial cultivation for harvesting tender coconuts, according to Dr. Arunachalam. COD is a dwarf variety characterised by compact internodes and early flowering and fruiting.

    Early flowering

    Well-managed COD palms come to flowering in three to four years after planting. Bearing commences from the fourth or fifth year. It yields 60 to 65 medium-sized nuts every year. It can be conveniently grown in home gardens as well as in small farms on a commercial scale by adopting a spacing of 7.5 m by 7.5m. The variety responds well to sound nutrient management. Liberal application of well rotten farmyard manure and a nutrient dose of 500 g of nitrogen, 320 g of phosphorus and 1200 g of potash for each tree in a year will prove to be highly rewarding. The recommended dose of nutrients should be applied in two splits to get good results, according to Dr. Arunachalam.

    COD is a highly fragile variety and is susceptible to heavy winds, water stress and rhinoceros beetle attack.

    Soil moisture

    Care should be taken to provide adequate soil moisture by incorporating suitable and locally available mulch to prevent water stress. High wind areas and drought-prone regions should be avoided. If planted in high wind-prone regions, good shelterbelts should be provided to minimise the damage due to winds.

    Beetle attack

    This variety should not be planted closer to compost pits, as it is highly prone to the damage by rhinoceros beetles.

    Farmers should take particular care to ensure that rhinoceros beetles are eliminated and their breeding grounds cleared by adopting suitable phytosanitary measures.

    When the trees are in full bearing, their bunches tend to buckle due to the weight of the nuts, and farmers should provide sufficient support to prevent it by tying the bunches with ropes, according to him.

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    The Market for Rootcrops

    The following appeared as Editorial Comment in the Fiji Times on Thursday, March 31, 2005.

    IT is disheartening for farmers to find out after harvesting their crops that there is an over-supply in the market.

    Take for example the case of dalo farmers who are forced to reduce the price of a bundle because of the abundance of rootcrops. A bundle which would normally sell for $12 to $15 on a Saturday at the market are now priced between $8 to $10. The same price reduction goes for cassava either sold in baskets or in heaps.

    After all the hard work and long hours they put in tending to the farms, their hope is always they would get the best price for their farm produce.

    The onus is on the Government to find more markets overseas for rootcrops such as dalo and ensure a stable and long-term arrangement with overseas buyers.

    Some of these farmers had heeded the call by the Government and political leaders to leave the urban centres and return to the land for farming.

    Some are even supplied such things as dalo tops by the ministry of agriculture to help them start off their farms. But when it is harvest time, they find out that the market, including the overseas buyers, is not big enough for everyone to enjoy a good return for their trouble.

    Of course not all the rootcrops would meet export requirements and these have to rely on local buyers.

    It should be one of the responsibilities of the Agricultural Marketing Authority although only recently established to identify new local markets for dalo and other farm produce which do not meet export requirements.

    The authority should assist these farmers who cannot sell their farm produce.

    Because most of the farmers dwell in rural areas, a major problem is the transportation cost. Sometimes they will be lucky to break even after selling the rootcrops for reduced prices and paying for the cost of the hired vans and carriers which transport the farm produce to town.

    The competition provided by Chinese farmers living mostly around the town and city and supplying the same market everyday gets tougher. They have easier access to the municipal markets than the farmer say up in Wainimala.

    The Authority should be able to suggest ways to subsidise the transport costs and allow the farmers to save some money to take home.

    The Authority can also help with the distribution of rootcrops so that maximum return to the farmer is guaranteed.

    Anything to help these farmers enjoy using the land and earning a decent living from it will be of great benefit to the economy and their families.

    * Comments:

    Maybe it is time that value adding is the way out of the root crop glut.
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    Wednesday, March 30, 2005

    Pacific biotechnology networking

    From Dr Mary Taylor (Regional Germplasm Centre Adviser, SPC), news that the following statement was made by Mr Hans Dencker Thulstrup (Science Programme Specialist, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States) at a meeting of the Board of the UNESCO Regional Network for Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology in Southeast Asia in Bangkok on 11 March 2005. The meeting of the Pacific Islands Biotechnology Working Group in February mentioned in the statement was supported by CTA.

    Statement to the Board of the UNESCO Regional Network for Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology in Southeast Asia

    During 14-17 February 2005, representatives of national, regional and international organizations engaged in biotechnology-related work in the Pacific Islands region met in Nadi, Fiji, to consider the consolidation and enhancement of regional networking and cooperation on biotechnology.

    Over four days of active discussions, the group took stock of ongoing science and technology work in the Pacific islands region with particular reference to biotechnology. Several key conclusions were reached on the need for an active and coordinated effort to enhance technical, human and institutional capacity for science and technology – and in particular biotechnology - in the Pacific island countries.

    A significant outcome of the meeting was the formation of an informal and flexible Pacific Islands Biotechnology Working Group, initially to be coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community with active engagement and commitment from a wide range of national, regional, and international agencies.

    Further to the establishment of the Working Group itself, a number of tangible commitments for practical follow-up action were made by the group. These included:

    • calling upon Pacific island governments to formally recognize the role of science and technology for sustainable development in the Pacific island countries
    • the identification of the Working Group as the focal point for regional, inter-regional and international networking on biotechnology
    • the commitment by group members to undertake a broad-based and intersectoral public awareness and education effort to ensure a wide recognition of the contributions of Pacific island countries and communities
    • the identification of specific, tangible areas for biotechnology - priority capacity building
    • the establishment of an on-line register of Pacific biotechnology capacity to ensure optimal coordination and utilization of existing Pacific expertise

    A Statement of the Participants of the Pacific Islands Biotechnology Working Group was adopted and will be widely distributed nationally, regionally and internationally announcing the achievements and progress made during the Nadi February discussions.

    Participating group members agreed to utilize the international networks available to them to further knowledge of Pacific science and technology beyond the region, in recognition of the currently limited dissemination of information to the international community.

    Towards this end, the Working Group considers participation in the UNESCO Regional Network for Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology in Southeast Asia as an excellent opportunity to develop and strengthen linkages between the Pacific and the wider region.

    The Working Group herewith asks the Board to consider the inclusion of a representative of the Working Group as an informally appointed representative of the Pacific to the Network. It is proposed that the provisional representative for the Working Group be Dr Mary Taylor of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Suva, Fiji. The subsequent participation of members of the Working Group in network activities will take place on a rotating basis to be elaborated by the Working Group.

    Mr Hans Thulstrup of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States in Apia, Samoa, will provide support to and coordination of the Working Group’s participation in the Network’s activities.

    Contact details of Dr Taylor and Mr Thulstrup are:

    Dr Mary Taylor
    Regional Germplasm Adviser
    Secretariat of the Pacific Community
    Private Mail Bag
    phone: (679) 3379 271 / 3370 733 xtn 271
    fax: (679) 3370 021
    email: maryt@spc.int

    Mr Hans Dencker Thulstrup
    Science Programme Specialist
    UNESCO Office for the Pacific States
    P O Box 615
    Tel: (685) 24276
    Fax: (685) 26593
    Email: hans@unesco.org.ws or h.thulstrup@unesco.org

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    Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

    There has been a lot in the news about the recently released Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report. In the press release, you can read that "A landmark study released today reveals that approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth – such as fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water regulation, and the regulation of regional climate, natural hazards and pests – are being degraded or used unsustainably. Scientists warn that the harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years."

    In addition to the global synthesis and assessment reports, a number of sub-global assessments have participated in the MA process and will publish the findings. As of March, 2005 there are 33 official and associated sub–global assessments. Each will prepare unique reports on their assessment findings. Because many of these assessments started work in 2002 or later, most of the reports will be available in late 2005 to 2006. These are the ones for the Pacific:
    1. Coastal, Small Island and Coral Reef Ecosystems in Papua New Guinea
    2. Fiji Sub-Global Assessment

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    Power Tools for Cassava Farmers

    More on the push for cassava cultivation in Nigeria.

    This Day (Lagos), March 28, 2005

    The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture has strongly recommended the use of a hand-pushed power tiller for small and medium scale farmers to reduce cost of cassava production in Nigeria.

    This was the outcome of a one-day meeting between Directors of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and scientists at the IITA-Onne Station in Rivers State.

    The visiting Federal Government Officials comprising Eng M C. C. Ene, Deputy Director (Engineering and Mechanization), Mr. L.A Fashola, Assistant Director (Arable Crops Division), and Dr. (Mrs) E.O. Odia, Head of Unit, Fed. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Port Harcourt, were at IITA to know the best mechanization methods to recommend for small and medium scale cassava production in Nigeria.

    At a meeting presided over by Professor Malachy Akoroda, Officer-in-Charge of IITA-Onne Station, participants discussed ways of making cassava production less cumbersome and more lucrative for Nigerian farmers. Professor Akoroda said now that the Nigerian government is providing the political will to support large scale cassava production in the country, it is pertinent to examine the best cost-effective mechanization options that will enable the farmers optimize production without destroying their land, and yet deriving the best possible yields from their crops. Cassava production is labor intensive. No single farmer can profitably plant one hectare of cassava using the back breaking manual labor.

    Making a presentation on the cost benefit of cassava production mechanization using the power tiller, Dr. Chuma Ezedinma, Project Economist for the Integrated Cassava Project (ICP), said about 60 men will be required to clear one hectare of farm land in a day, at a whopping cost of about N30,000. This cost excludes land preparation, weeding and harvesting.

    He said the average wage rates by farm activity in cassava production have increased 27 times in nominal terms over the last 10-15 years in Nigeria. Dr. Ezedinma said the power tiller is ideal equipment for small and medium scale farmers because it is not expensive. The average cost of the equipment which is manufactured in India is N800,000.

    He said cooperative organizations could purchase the equipment through contributions and used for land preparation of members' farms in rotation, and on rental basis to generate income to the organization.

    During a field demonstration of the power tiller, Mr. O.B. Adisa, Farm Superintendent said the equipment is designed till to 1.2 hectares, cultivate 1ha, plough 0.8ha, and ridge 0.8ha per day. In addition, the equipment can be used as water pump to deliver 440 liters of water per minute from a suction depth of 30ft with an over head length of 60ft high, while the trailer can transport 1.5 tons of load, at a speed of 13 kilometers per hour. He said the power tiller has a life span of about 20 years with good maintenance. He however emphasized the need for regular and adequate service to ensure optimum performance of the equipment.

    The visiting officials were convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the power tiller is ideal for Nigerian farmers and thus, promised to make their recommendation known to the Hon. Minister.

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    Hana festival celebrates taro

    Tuesday, March 29, 2005
    Honolulu Advertiser Staff

    HANA, Maui — Taro, a food and cultural staple for Hawaiians since ancient times, will be celebrated at the 13th annual East Maui Taro Festival this weekend in Hana.

    Event official Judy Kinser said that nearly every household and family in Hana is involved in the festival — as a vendor, performer or volunteer. "There is a lot of kokua, helping and volunteering," she said. "... The entire community is in harmony and emphasizing their culture at the same time."

    The free three-day event starts Friday with visits aboard the Makali'i and Hokule'a voyaging canoes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hana Bay. Hawaiian plate-lunch dinners will be available for purchase after 5 p.m., and a symposium on Hawaiian water rights and taro genetics will begin at 6 p.m. in Helene Hall. Educator Paulo Burns will present the Haloa story about the ancestor of the Hawaiian people, the first taro plant. Kamaui Aiona from Kahanu Gardens will give an overview of the master plan for the new garden layout.

    Saturday at 9 a.m., the Ka'ahumanu Society will deliver the opening blessing at the Hana Ballpark. The society, of women of Hawaiian ancestry, honors Queen Ka'ahumanu, who was born in Hana. Hawaiian crafts, flowers, T-shirts and other goods will be sold throughout the day, and there will be taro-pounding and kapa demonstrations, along with entertainment until 5 p.m.

    Food booths at the East Maui Taro Festival are required to feature at least one taro dish, such as poi, poi mochi or taro burgers, and taro plants; and greens will be for sale by local farmers.

    Sunday's events will start with a taro pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the ballpark. An excursion to Kukulu Kumuhana for kapa cloth-making demonstrations will leave at 10 a.m. for the hale across from Hana High and Elementary School. At 11 a.m., visitors can join an excursion to Hale O Pi'ilani Heiau in the National Tropical Botanical Garden. A third excursion will leave at 1 p.m. for the Kapahu Living Farm taro lo'i on Haleakala National Park grounds in Kipahulu.

    People can sign up for the excursions Saturday at the festival T-shirt booth or by calling Kinser at (808) 264-1553.

    The festival is sponsored by Maui County, the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, Hana Ranch, Hotel Hana-Maui and the Hana Business Council.

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    Monday, March 28, 2005

    Setback in Fiji breadfruit exports

    From Monday's Fiji Sun.

    The disappointment in breadfruit exports stems from poor quality control measures, post harvest handling and workable bait spray regimes that have not been addressed. The Agriculture Ministry made the comment during a workshop on developments in the breadfruit industry this month.

    It said there was potential in Australia and NZ markets for breadfruit exports from Fiji after records soared from 5.5 tonnes shipped in 2002 to 10.5 tonnes last year. There was room for more, the ministry said.

    A breadfruit quality project has been approved and was being implemented through a joint venture between industry representatives, the ministry and other stakeholders. The project will help determine temperature profile, proper fruit handling methods to extend its shelf life and maintain quality and coordinate a research progamme for commercial breadfruit farming.

    The fruit seels at close to F$4 a kilogram in overseas markets.

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    Traditional Pacific Island Crops Web Pages

    The AgNIC Traditional Pacific Island Crops Pages are the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library's contribution to the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) project coordinated by the National Agricultural Library, USDA. They are made possible by the support of the Library and the Agricultural Development in the American Pacific (ADAP) Project.

    The Internet resources included in this AgNIC Web site provide information on the following traditional Pacific Island crops:

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    Pohnpei karat bananas in Japan?

    From Dr Lois Englberger.

    We have just heard some exciting news relating to Karat. An officer from the Pohnpei Visitors Bureau just shared with me that Mr Sei Uemoto from the Sei Restaurant here in Pohnpei recently exhibited Karat bananas along with his pepper (black) at the large Foodex trade exhibition in Japan. "Senbikiya," one of the most famous fruit shop chains in Japan, showed interest in Karat banana and asked him to export it!

    Mr. Sei Uemoto has now joined the Pohnpei Rare Banana Project, and is planting Karat in his garden in Kitti Municipality.

    The Pohnpei Rare Banana Project is an inter-agency project supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Germplasm Centre and the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, and is designed to increase production of Karat and other rare Pohnpei bananas, for both local consumption and export. Planting material is being purchased from those farmers who have the planting material, and is being then distributed through the College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant program extension officers, to those who agree to the conditions of the program (later sharing of an equal number of planting material).

    Karat contains high levels of provitamin A and total carotenoids, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (another B vitamin) and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Thus, consumption of Karat could provide many health benefits (protection against diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, vitamin A deficiency and anemia).

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    Long-life kava: a unique Vanuatu export

    Find this page online at: http://www.news.vu/en/business/Trade/050314-Vanuatu-long-life-kava.shtml

    By Tony Ligo - The Independent, Port Vila - Monday, 14 March 2005

    Perfecting a two-year shelf life for kava juice is the first step in an business process that will take the Japan international trade show and export markets by storm.

    Farmers, local business people and investors have attempted to develop local agricultural products for export in the past 25 years, but technology has so far fallen short of providing a way of preserving raw products like kava in a manageable form.

    In 1998, Yoan Kalsakau was convinced kava could be preserved as liquid, instead of dried roots as was already being done elsewhere in the region and abroad, and he was determined convert fresh green roots to a product with a lengthy shelf life.

    Last week The Independent was taken on a tour of Kalsakau's new food processing company Agroprocessing, and the founder and director outlined their objectives and achievements. Kalsakau approached one of the worlds leading experts on kava, Dr Vincent Lebot, who agreed to take on the challenge. Together they researched and carried out tests, and finally made a scientific breakthrough. They received help from several international organisations and specialists, including Dr Richard Beyer, who will be joining them again from Fiji next month to continue work on perfecting a long shelf life for kava juice.

    Today's shelf life is one month, but if kept refrigerated it lasts for up to six months. By the end of April, kava juice from Agroprocessing is expected to be preserved for one year.

    During tests carried out in France, an international manufacturer of food products offered to pay for the rights to this process on kava, but Agro-processing refused as the company believes it should retain control of the complete manufacturing process before export.

    "Dr Lebot was instrumental in providing and sourcing specific scientific input in the development and testing stages, particularly to find people overseas who were willing to run tests for us," stated Yoan.

    "I remember at one stage green kava samples had to be taken to Australia for testing and although it was difficult with stringent quarantine laws, we managed to get it there through what I could only say was a miracle."

    Contained in a 260g bottle with sealed cap the kava juice, once opened and poured into a "shell", has a fruity aroma, tastes like punch and is very light. Kava lovers will testify this is totally the opposite to what fresh kava juice tastes or smells like when consumed fresh.

    How they managed to get kava from the farm to Port Vila and keep it fresh was explained by Kalsakau.

    "We use water and a vitamin to keep the roots fresh. First the farmer harvests his crop, brings it home and puts it directly into drums of water mixed with a vitamin solution. Once it arrives here we simply clean the roots and the machines do the rest, with human guidance of course."

    Specific machines are used for everything from chipping and washing the roots, to grinding the roots and extracting the juice by a pressing process. From there it is bottled and packaged for retail. "We still have to provide more information for labeling before our product is ready for export, such as expiry date, and then we are ready," said Kalsakau.

    This product was described as a "hot bread product" by many professionals in the field. Samples have been distributed in New Caledonia, where results indicate there is an existing demand. The company is looking at establishing itself there first.

    It takes around 400 kilograms of kava to produce more than 700 bottles of kava juice, according to the company director.

    "At this point we only buy kava from Epi, simply because it was the original source of our import," says Yoan, "but we want to encourage farmers in all the islands in the group to contact us so we can let them know which kava from their islands we are interested in."

    The leading expert on Vanuatu kava Dr Lebot provided the company a list of kavas from each island with the right qualities for this kind of processing, from the Torres to Aneityum.

    "Farmers must not plant crops from other islands but continue to plant their own variety, because it is best suitable to their environment," he said. "Growers must be encouraged to keep their varieties alive because we will be interested in all of them."

    But that is not where it ends for Agro-products because there is a growing list of products in line.

    "We also carried out tests processing jam from local fruits such as pawpaws and mangoes, and managed to give them a two-year shelf life," confirmed Yoan Kalsakau. Agroprocessing also makes chutney and peanut butter and is set to process fruit vinegar and fruit oil from local produce some time this year.

    "We want to produce baby food from some of our local crops also, which contain very high protein, such as the red kumala or sweet potato. Furthermore we are already in the process of setting up our next phase, which is the vacuum packaging of local fruits such as namambe. This is already a huge hit in Canada and some major Asian centers such as Singapore. The list of vacuum-packed possibilities is almost endless, including fruit salad which we already have orders for from Fiji."

    The icing on the cake is fresh coconut flesh in a tube, "like the tooth paste," Kalsakau said with a smile. The company admits there are endless possibilities now but it all comes back to the farmers having the determination to back them. "We will soon need tons of namambe, but can the farmers continue to supply us consistently? That is very important, once the markets are established overseas, so farmers must be ready to do their part," he added.

    "We will be able to take on board more staff as the company grows. So it is not only to export but help give work to farmers, and hopefully to help change the direction of urban drift by some percentage, give more employment opportunities to our people, put our products on shelves at prices reasonable for our people and keep money in Vanuatu rather than send it overseas," said Yoan Kalsakau.

    "It is a tough competition ahead and we will need a massive campaign to get people on side, because we are used to purchasing imported stuff and we need public support to keep us going, because this is set up locally by ni-Vanuatu."

    Director of Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority Joe Ligo indicated the venture will be assisted with overseas advertising when it is ready, and encourages the management to continue its good work.

    Agroprocessing will be supplying the Vanuatu pavilion at the international trade show about to start in Japan with kava juice being provided for the official opening ceremony of its space. It is understood the minister responsible will be present for the opening to hand kava juice from Agroprocessing to Japanese officials. More than 19 million Japanese have bought tickets to the trade show and the number of expected overseas visitors is yet to be tallied. This could be another boost for the new company in overseas marketing.

    Only last Wednesday, the company opened for business and it is situated at the Ifira Stevedoring yard at Vila North. It employs 19 staff and expects to increase staff numbers in the near future as markets open particularly overseas. Agroprocessing is a dream come true for one of Ifira island's prominent businessman, Yoan Kalsakau.

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    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    Cassava as carotenoid source?

    The following is reprinted from CropBiotech Net, and shows another side of cassava.

    In Potentiality of Cassava Cultivars as a Source of Carotenoids, Dr. Nagib Nassar of the University of Brazil and colleagues show that one of foremost food sources of several tropical countries also has the potential to curb malnutrition. Their findings are published in the online journal Gene Conserve for March 2005.

    In their experiments, the researchers screened cassava clones and interspecific hybrids, and, through colorimetric methods, found that a clone named UnB-400 contained high levels of lutein and trans-B-carotene. UnB-400 was found to have 236 mg/g of lutein, compared to zero in other cultivars; and 2.2 mg/g of trans-B-carotene, which is considered sufficient for the average daily requirements of adults consuming half a kilogram of cassava daily.

    Both lutein and beta-carotene are potential antioxidants. Beta-carotene, in particular, is the precursor of Vitamin A, and has been shown to prevent heart disease and cancer, and lower the incidence of cataracts and macular disorders. Cassava, for its part, is both a cheap and abundant crop, and the Brazilian government is currently seeking ways to incorporate it into local wheat flours for enhanced flavor and nutrition.

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    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Local foods support small farms

    By K.L.CAPOZZA PAIA, Hawaii, March 14

    As soon as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, diners begin to line up outside of Mama's Fish House in Maui. They come not just to sample the upscale eatery's impeccably made local fish, but also to experience local culture, history and landscapes through Mama's signature Hawaiian dishes.

    A typical menu item at the restaurant reads, "Opakapaka with taro root caught by Earle Kaiwi bottom fishing outside his homeport of Hana Bay," which, in a sentence, introduces diners to the Hawaiian language, the island's home-grown produce and native fish, and the farmers and fisherman responsible for bringing the ingredients to their plate.

    Mama's is one of a growing cadre of U.S. restaurants attracting a loyal following by tapping into consumer interest in local, seasonal and small-farmed foods. This demographic views eating as more than just a way to put away calories.It also is a source of pleasure, culture and community. It even can be a learning experience." Now that organic has gone large scale, I think consumers are looking for something else," said Betty King, a specialist in rural economic development at the University of Kentucky in Lexington."

    I call the new buzz word "authentic foods." This movement back to local, small and high-quality is, in part, a response to the past several decades of consolidation and homogenization in the food industry, and to the growth of large-scale factory farming. It also is a reaction to recent high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as mad cow disease, which raise consumer fears about the safety of the food supply and paint a picture of an anonymous, poorly regulated and unhygienic industry.

    As more and more Americans live in urban areas, the origin of their food increasingly is a mystery. Even rural residents have a difficult time tracking down their groceries' pedigree because so much of it now is grown or raised outside U.S. borders.

    Research has shown supermarket produce travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table, with some commodities originating from as far away as Asia. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the United States will spend as much on food imports in 2005 as it receives for food exports. As much as 45% of the money spent on foreign food will go for fruits and vegetables, which explains why supermarket produce aisles are stocked with grapes from Chile, bananas from Ecuador and oranges from South Africa.

    This globalization of food production has eroded community ties to local farmers and regional cuisines -- a trend that aficionados of local and natural foods hope to reverse by promoting producers of artisanal, traditional and heirloom products." People now want food with a place, a face and a taste," King told United Press International. As consumers turn their attention away from the global market and seek out local, climate-specific foods, produce suppliers are moving to meet the needs of this booming niche market.

    Specialty Produce, a family owned supplier in San Diego, has noticed its customers -- mostly upscale restaurants -- are insisting on products grown within a 40-mile radius."They want seasonal and local. If it's a lemon, they want to know the kind of lemon, the farmer's name, where it was grown and something about the history," Roger Harrington, Specialty's manager, told UPI. According to the non-profit Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, 93% of American food-product diversity has been lost since 1900, which explains why consumers also are seeking out novel, diverse and rare foods.King, an advocate for small farms and farmer's markets in Kentucky, often sifts through local produce stalls in search of unusual products.

    On one such adventure, she happened upon a gaggle of roots that looked vaguely familiar. After chatting with the farmer, who was an expert in heirloom Appalachian vegetables, she learned the bundle of roots actually was sassafras, a hard-to-find native herb her father used to harvest in the winter and brew into tea." You just never see things like sassafras anymore. These type of food experiences enable us to rediscover who we are as families, communities, and as a nation," King said. This precipitous drop in food choices has spawned a renewed interest in new tastes and culinary experiences -- instead of iceberg lettuce, consumers want radicchio and Lolla Rossa. They are seeking out ringneck pheasant with cardoons instead of standard roast beef and potatoes. Such trends spell good news for small farmers, particularly those who sell directly to consumers through farm-delivery programs or farmers markets.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture data show interest in fresh, novelty produce has generated a dramatic proliferation of local farmer's markets. Since 1994, they have increased by 111%. Interest in promoting American culinary heritage also has boomed. The non-profit Slow Food USA was founded in 2000 and information on its Web site said the goal was to create "a robust, active movement that protects taste, culture and the environment as universal social values."

    Since its inception, the organization's membership has increased from 300 members to 13,000. Part of Slow Food's mission is to invigorate regional and seasonal culinary traditions. Toward that end, the group's been working to catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors and gastronomic products that are threatened by industrial standardization and large-scale distribution. These include California's crane melon, Vermont's gilfeather turnip, New Mexico's Navajo-Churro sheep and Washington state's Olympia native oyster. Ultimately, these endangered foods' fate will depend on consumer interest in experiencing their unique flavor.

    Back at Mama's fish house, Hawaii's regional foods seem to be enjoying a renaissance. Fishermen bring in their daily catch to the kitchen, where it is filleted and served within a few hours. The sous chefs prep breadfruit, paholo fern, roasted kukui nut, and Maui onions for the evening rush. In the dining room, each plate meshes so perfectly with its surroundings that diners have no doubt they are just steps from the tropical Pacific in the very heart of Polynesia.

    K.L.Capozza covers environment and food issues for UPI Science News.
    Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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    Duruka in Fiji

    There have been two articles recently in the Fiji Times on duruka, or Saccharum edule. This is known as pitpit in PNG, where there are probably many more than the 2 varieties mentioned for Fiji. There are germplasm collections in Fiji (Naduruloulou Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture, Sugar and Land Resettlement) and PNG (NARI Wet Lowlands Islands Programme – Keravat, East New Britain Province; 15 accessions). The articles are reproduced below...

    Duruka a hit overseas (Saturday, March 19, 2005)

    THE locally-grown crop duruka (Saccharum edule) is gaining popularity overseas, says the manager of a local food canning company.

    "Last year the company exported 2000 cartons of canned duruka," said Food Processors Fiji Limited manager Dron Prasad. "This year the target is 6000 cartons.

    The company is willing to buy 80-100,000 bundles of duruka this year at the farm gate price of $2 a bundle and they will also provide the transport if the farmers can supply more than a thousand bundles of duruka."

    He said duruka was popular amongst locals residing overseas.

    The company packs duruka into brine-filled 400gram cans and exports them to Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.

    Most of their duruka suppliers are from the Tailevu, Naitasiri, Korovou, Vunidawa and Namosi areas.

    Savenaca Tuivaga, a senior agriculture assistant at the Vunidawa office, said most of the farmers in the tikina of Waima planted duruka as a source of income.

    The farmers in the area will be harvesting duruka in a few weeks time, he said. They expect to harvest more than 800 bundles this year. Naqara Village in Naitasiri is another of the company's biggest suppliers.

    Last year the farmers supplied 7548 bundles of duruka valued at $15,096, a 4.8 per cent increase when compared to the previous year.

    The main season for duruka is from April to June. It takes about six to eight months for the plant to mature after planting.

    The plant belongs to the same family as sugarcane - the grass family, and is actually the flower of wild sugar cane.

    Local delicacy back in season (Monday, March 14, 2005)

    Duruka is in season once again with bundles selling at up to $6 in the markets and roadsides. The Ministry of Agriculture in a recent release stated that Duruka or Saccharum edule was gaining popularity in overseas markets very quickly. Local canning company Food Processors Fiji Limited packs duruka with brine in 400 grams can and exports to Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.

    Production manager Dron Prasad said duruka was popular with local people overseas and last year the company exported 2000 cartons of duruka and expecting to pack 6,000 cartons this year.

    "The company is willing to buy 80 to 100,000 bundles of duruka this year at the farm gate price of $2 a bundle and will provide transport if the farmers can supply more than 1000 bundles.''
    There are two varieties of duruka: Green local variety and Red local variety.

    The Red variety matures between December to January while the green variety that is canned season is usually ready between February to March with supplies coming in from Tailevu, Naitasiri, Korovou, Vunidawa and Namosi.

    Senior Agriculture Assistant at Vunidawa Savenaca Tuivaga said most of the farmers in Waima tikina planted duruka as a source of income. He said the farmers of Naqara Village were one of the biggest suppliers of duruka to Food Processors Fiji Limited.

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    Biomes of the Pacific

    "Biomes and Biogeographical Realms" is a global website developed by WWF. The world is divided into Australasia, Antarctic, Afrotropic, Indo-Malayan, Nearctic (North America), Neotropic (South America), Oceania and Palearctic (Eurasia) "biogeographical realms", and these are subdivided into quite detailed ecoregions. Each of these ecoregions is described in a separate page. Below is a list of the ecoregions recognized in the Pacific (Oceania and Australasia realms).


    Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

    Carolines tropical moist forests
    Central Polynesian tropical moist forests
    Cook Islands tropical moist forests
    Eastern Micronesia tropical moist forests
    Fiji tropical moist forests
    Hawaii tropical moist forests
    Kermadec Islands subtropical moist forests
    Marquesas tropical moist forests
    Ogasawara subtropical moist forests
    Palau tropical moist forests
    Rapa Nui and Sala-y-Gomez subtropical broadleaf forests
    Samoan tropical moist forests
    Society Islands tropical moist forests
    Tongan tropical moist forests
    Tuamotu tropical moist forests
    Tubuai tropical moist forests
    Western Polynesian tropical moist forests

    Tropical & Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests

    Fiji tropical dry forests
    Hawaii tropical dry forests
    Marianas tropical dry forests
    Yap tropical dry forests

    Tropical & Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, & Shrublands

    Hawaii tropical high shrublands
    Hawaii tropical low shrublands
    Northwestern Hawaii scrub


    Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

    New Britain-New Ireland lowland rain forests
    New Britain-New Ireland montane rain forests
    New Caledonia rain forests
    Norfolk Island subtropical forests
    Northern New Guinea lowland rain and freshwater swamp forests
    Northern New Guinea montane rain forests
    Solomon Islands rain forests
    Southeastern Papuan rain forests
    Southern New Guinea freshwater swamp forests
    Southern New Guinea lowland rain forests
    Vanuatu rain forests

    Tropical & Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests

    New Caledonia dry forests

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    Rare Pohnpei Bananas Collected and Shared

    By Dr Lois Englberger, Island Food Community of Pohnpei

    Due to a growing demand all over the island, an inter-agency project based at Pohnpei Agriculture has now been initiated to provide rare banana planting materials to Pohnpei farmers and others. The purpose of the project is to increase production and consumption of these nutrient-rich local varieties.

    The project was announced through radio spots, and farmers who have these rare bananas and wish to provide planting materials were registered. A meeting was then held on 21 February 2005 at the Pohnpei Agriculture office with these farmers and staff of Pohnpei Agriculture, College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant Office and the Island Food Community of Pohnpei.

    Farmers were asked which varieties might be most important to collect, and agreed upon the following: Karat, Utin Iap, Akadahn Weitahta, Mangat, Ihpali, Karat en Iap, Kudud and Utiak. All of these are rich in provitamin A carotenoids and have special health benefits.

    It was carefully explained that good quality planting materials were needed, and for each good quality sucker the farmer would be paid $1. Suckers of lesser quality would be $0.25 per piece.

    All suckers received were also dipped in a chlorox and water mixture to reduce the spread of any disease or pests that a sucker might have.

    At the same time, the COM-FSM Land Grant extension agents started identifying those farmers who would be interested in receiving planting material and increasing their production of these bananas, possibly also for supplying local markets.

    By 9 March 2005, Eddie Roland of Pohnpei Agriculture had received 656 banana suckers, 610 of which were Karat. Two growers, Markary Amor and Luwis Manuel, provided most of these (450 suckers).

    The planting material distribution has now started. To receive a sucker, a person must contact either Pohnpei Agriculture (tel. 320-2400) or COM-FSM Land Grant (tel. 320-5731) and agree to the conditions set out in the Farmers Agreement Form. These conditions include agreeing to plant and maintain the planting materials provided and to cooperate with project staff to supply needed information, access to the farmer’s land, and later to provide an equal amount of quality planting material to be distributed to other Pohnpei farmers. In this way it is hoped that markets may soon be selling a greater diversity of banana varieties and home consumption of these bananas also increases.

    This project is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, and the SPC Pacific German Regional Forestry Project.

    * Comments:

    I am a Filipino who is very interested on your banana cultivars specifically karat, Utin iap and Utimwas. Do you have programs to distibute planting materials outside of Pohnpei or Micronesia? I want to order for delivery to Quezon province Philippines. Please advice how can I and how much and the minimum quantity of sucker or planting materials.

    Thank you and best regards.

    You need to contact Adelino Lorens at Agriculture Pohnpei on pniagriculture@mail.fm.
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    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Cassava remains popular on Guam despite recent news reports

    By Jojo Santo Tomas santotomas@guampdn.com
    Pacific Daily News

    Chito Iglopas has eaten cassava all his life. As a youngster growing up in the Visayas in the Philippines, Iglopas remembers eating the starchy root as often as he ate rice -- sometimes more.

    So when the Filipino chef heard the news last week that two dozen children died eating cassava, his heart went out to the students in Bohol. But his experience and training as a professional chef told him that it was an isolated incident and he would continue to eat and prepare the dish as he normally does.

    "I was really sad for the kids; I have kids, too. But when I heard that news about the cassava that killed the kids, I felt that it's not cassava. I felt that it's something else," he says. "To my knowledge, no one ever died eating cassava. It grows everywhere and it's very inexpensive."

    Cassava, which grows in abundance on Guam, is known locally as mendioka or tapioca. It is the main ingredient in Chamorro dishes such as apigigi and tamales mames, and is popular among Filipinos as the base for cassava cake and maruya, fried slices of cassava topped with caramelized sugar.

    On March 9, 27 children died and more than 100 others were hospitalized after eating maruya in Mabini, a town on Bohol island about 380 miles south of Manila. City officials there reacted by urging residents to uproot all of the long tubers as dozens of cassava products sat unsold on store shelves.

    But earlier this week, Philippine health officials determined that it was a pesticide found in the cassava mixture that killed the children, and not the cyanide that is found naturally in the roots.

    The more popular yellow cassava has about 60 parts per million of cyanide, while white cassava has about 350 parts per million. However, the cyanide is destroyed during a normal cooking process such as frying, boiling or roasting, making it a wholesome, nutritious food.

    Even before hearing about the pesticide, chef Jhamnong Kraitong of the Westin Resort Guam was convinced the food was tainted. Kraitong hails from Thailand, one of the world's largest exporters of cassava, more commonly known there as tapioca.

    "It is a very good food," he says. "It not poisonous. Even the young leaf, you can use it for cooking."

    Chamorro chef Peter Duenas of Sam Choy's Restaurant says he was surprised and dismayed to hear about the students' deaths after eating cassava, but he agreed that it would probably wind up as an isolated incident. He uses the ingredient often in his cooking, whether it's freshly ground from roots found on his property or from ready-to-use frozen packets found at most grocery stores.

    "Man, in the Philippines, you see it everywhere you go. Any store, any street vendor, they got the fresh cassava going on. I love that stuff -- it's a soothing dessert because it's sugary, chewy and it's got coconut in it," he says. "Here, you don't see it as much, but it's still popular. In fact, every culture I know of uses it in some way."

    Local sales unaffected

    At least two local retailers say that last week's incident hasn't affected sales.
    Roberto Bumagat, who handles purchasing for the Great Mart grocery store chain on Guam, brings in frozen, grated cassava by the container from the Philippines.

    Besides the raw product, his stores also carry ready-to-eat cassava cake made by local catering companies.

    "We've sold out a couple of times already, so I don't think it affected our sales as far as the demand for cassava cake," he says. "I really don't think it will affect much here because that incident happened in the Philippines."

    Sheila San Agustin, whose family runs the Chode store and catering company in Anigua, also sells raw cassava and ready-to-eat products such as apigigi and tamales mames.

    "I did read about that incident. But I'm not really worried because my cassava is backed up by the company that sends it here," she says. "I don't think there will be any public reaction here."
    In fact, she says, she can't seem to keep the cassava products on the shelves because customers are buying it as fast as she can display it.

    "It's Chamorro week," she says. "Everybody wants it now."

    Full of vitamins

    Rachael T. Leon Guerrero, a professor of nutrition at the University of Guam, says she and some friends were discussing the possibilities after hearing about the incident in Bohol.

    "Cassava is just a root crop -- not something you could really screw up on. Once you cook it, everything's pretty much taken care of," she says. "It's a very common root staple for a lot of Pacific islands and parts of Asia and it's used all over the world."

    Leon Guerrero says that cassava has good amounts of vitamin C, calcium and fiber -- not as much as its tuberous counterparts taro, sweet potato and yam -- but it's still much better than the enriched white rice so popular in the local diet.

    "So it's really good for the body. It's fine -- go ahead and continue to eat it if that's what you eat," she says.

    www.starch.dk and sources quoted in this story

    Originally published March 18, 2005

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    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Coconut diversity

    Two very interesting illustrations of coconut diversity. The first is by Rolan Bourdeix of CIRAD, and this is what he says about it:

    "It took me about 10 years to complete this picture, and I am quite happy it is finished now! I think this picture shows most of the diversity of coconut fruit shape in the world. Thanks a lot for all the researchers who helped me to do this picture, and special thanks for Ramon from the Philippines and Mathias Faure from PNG, who were the last to send me missing pictures of Tampakan Tall and Papua Yellow dwarf."

    From left to right, and then up to down, the varieties illustrated are as follows:

    First rank

    1. Papua yellow dwarf, Papua new Guinea (picture taken in PNG)
    2. Tahiti red dwarf, French Polynesia (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    3. Madang brown dwarf, Papua new Guinea (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    4. Cameroon red dwarf, Cameroon (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    5. Spicata tall Samoa, Western Samoa (picture taken in Samoa)
    6. Rotuman tall, Fiji (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    7. Rennell tall, Solomon Islands (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    Second rank

    1. Niu Afa tall, Western Samoa (picture taken in Samoa)
    2. Comoro Moheli Tall, Comoro Island (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    3. Sri Lanka tall Ambakelle, Sri Lanka (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    4. West african tall Akabo, Côte d'Ivoire (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    5. Tuvalu tall Fuafatu, Tuvalu Island (picture taken in Tuvalu)
    6. West african tall Mensah, Côte d'Ivoire (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    7. Miccro Laccadives tall, India (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    Third rank

    1. Vanuatu Tall, Vanuatu (picture taken in Vanuatu)
    2. Malayan yellow dwarf, Malaysia (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    3. Malayan Tall, Malaysia (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    4. Tagnanan Tall, Philippines (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)
    5. Tampakan tall, Philipinnes (picture taken in the Philipinnes)
    6. Kappadam Tall, India (picture taken in Côte d'Ivoire)

      Coconut diversity

    The second picture is by Jean-Pierre Labouisse, also of CIRAD. He used to work on coconut in Vanuatu but is now in Ethiopia and studying coffee.

    This is what he says about his picture:

    "For your reflection, I submit from my side a picture showing the intravarietal diversity in coconut. All of these fruits come from one single plot (2 ha) of Improved Vanuatu Talls created by several cycles of mass selection. It tooks me one day to make this picture."

    Diversity in Vanuatu coconut

    * Comments:

    Thanks very much for this and especially Spicata as well as Niu afa from Samoa. The former I don't recall and wonder where breeder Siaosi Efu is at the moment.
    I checked Parham (1972) Plants of Samoa to find Niu tau'ave/ sasave (Diplothemium henryanum) differing in thick unbranched spadix, spirally-arranged flowers and double spathe. Rare, while Whistler (2000) lists it among common cvs.
    hi there this sounds interesting im a university students and based on my studies i just wannting to know who breedes niu tau'ave/sasave and also are they samoan coconut???
    thanks very much for ya help
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    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    PNG's protected areas reviewed

    From the WWF South Pacific Programme website, 24 February 2005.

    Non-government organisations and government have prepared a Rescue Plan for PNG’s protected areas at a workshop held on Motupore Island, Port Moresby on 16-18 February, 2005.

    The workshop reviewed the findings of a year long survey of PNG’s 51 conservation areas. It was discovered that most of these areas were still functioning and supported by landowners but had received little attention from government over the past decade.

    Conservation Manager-Forests, Paul Chatterton of WWF, the global conservation organisation said, “A study in 1999 showed that PNG Protected Areas had no management or very little management at all, and the situation is worse now if anything. A much greater effort is needed to safeguard areas that bring in millions of kina a year and protect important resources such as crocodiles, eaglewood or tourism areas.”

    The workshop was attended by about 30 representatives from government and non-government agencies, such as Department of Environment & Conservation, WWF, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, Research Conservation Foundation, and Kokoda Track Authority. It was organised to assess the management status of the protected areas in PNG, and to come up with recommendations for improving and strengthening the management of protected areas.

    The top five threats highlighted at the workshop were: logging, mining, hunting, invasive species and conversion for agriculture. Issues included:
    • Contradictory legislation and policy on protected areas
    • Logging and mining exploration are being approved routinely within protected areas against landowner wishes
    • Limited technical support and advice is given to the protected areas managers or committees
    • Protected areas have unclear objectives
    • Poor coordination among government agencies
    According to Mr Chatterton, a Rescue Plan based on these recommendations will be launched shortly by all the participating organisations. Recommendations were made to address the existing weaknesses in the management of protected areas. Among them were:
    • Forest Authority to have potential forest developments removed from current and proposed protected areas
    • More integrated land-use planning system for PNG to be developed in order to ensure representative protection of all forest types and prevent conflicts between land uses
    • A species management plan to be developed for those species that are threatened with extinction.
    A collaboration between government and NGOs will also be formalised to implement these recommendations.

    WWF International’s representative and workshop facilitator, Liza Higgins-Zogib, said, “PNG holds the third largest rainforest on the planet and some of the world’s richest reefs. Protected areas are the best way to ensure PNG looks after vital natural resources, such as clean drinking water, hunting grounds and building materials. Conservation areas can also help uphold traditional values by protecting important cultural sites.”

    For further information contact:
    Ruby YamunaTelephone: 853 3220 or 852 3720
    E-mail: ryamuna@wwfpacific.org.pg

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    A trade success story for Pacific agriculture?


    SEATTLE -- Today, Starbucks Coffee Company introduces Kigabah Estate coffee, from the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Starbucks also today announces the addition of an award component to the coffees of the Black Apron Exclusives (TM) lineup.

    'There isn't a single coffee that travels a farther distance to us than these beans from Papua New Guinea, and no coffee is more respected than that of the Kigabah Estate,' says Dub Hay, Starbucks senior vice president of Coffee. 'With high standards for production and those who produce it, the Kigabah Estate exemplifies what Starbucks looks for in a coffee supplier.'

    At 5,500 feet above sea level, in what was once a swamp, coffee is nourished by abundant rainfall and rich nutrients found in the thick, black topsoil. These fertile conditions give Kigabah Estate coffee a juicy acidity, round body and herbal notes reminiscent of black tea tannins. The Kigabah Estate is progressive in its farming practices and environmental practices, and contributes ten percent of its profits to the farming community.

    'I am also extremely proud to announce that for each Black Apron Exclusives (TM) coffee, Starbucks will award $15,000 for a project that will improve the lives of the farmers in the community,' continues Hay. 'Through this program, we've had the opportunity to enjoy some extraordinary coffees. Now, to thank these dedicated farmers and give back to their communities, we will provide funds to help improve things such as education, transportation, coffee-processing facilities and the environment.'

    The award for Kigabah Estate coffee will be used for school funding for residents throughout the Waghi Valley, whose ancestors have been farming land in the Western Highlands for more than 9,000 years and are believed to be among the world's first farmers.

    In addition to awarding $15,000 for Kigabah Estate coffee, Starbucks has applied the award retroactively to all previous Black Apron Exclusives (TM) offerings. For its 100% Kona coffee (introduced April 23, 2004), Starbucks, through the farms that provided the coffee, donated $15,000 to the Start Now foundation, a non-profit organization that supports alcohol and drug education and prevention programs for Kona community children in grades 6-10. The award for Ethiopia Harrar (introduced June 30, 2004) coffee was donated to the Dil Chora Hospital in Dire Dawa and the funds will be used to buy equipment and support current medical, dental and vision services. The award for El Salvador Estate Pacamara coffee (introduced Sept. 30, 2004) was invested directly into the infrastructure of the Montecarlos Estate, helping to improve coffee quality and to increase the standard of living for the farming community.

    The Black Apron Exclusives (TM) line of coffee is named for Starbucks most knowledgeable buyers, roasters, tasters and Starbucks Coffee Masters, who wear a black apron in the tasting rooms and in the Company's coffeehouses. Since Black Apron Exclusives (TM) coffees hail from very distinct and scarce crops -- making any prediction of availability nearly impossible -- subsequent introductions will be announced shortly before their arrival in select retail stores. Four rare and exclusives coffees will follow Kigabah Estate coffee this year, with the next selection expected to be available May 2, 2005.

    Starbucks Kigabah Estate coffee is available in Company-operated stores throughout North America starting March 7, 2005 (1/2 lb price: US $11, CAN $15), and will be available while supplies last.

    Starbucks (R) whole bean coffee assortment includes more than 20 single-origin offerings and blends from around the world, including many worldwide exclusive coffees. The 'Coffee of the Week' program links brewed coffee to whole bean coffee, providing customers with the opportunity to bring a daily taste home for the weekend. Starbucks Coffee Masters are available in stores to answer coffee questions and help customers navigate the world of coffee.

    Starbucks Corporation is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 9,000 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The Company is committed to offering the highest quality coffee and the Starbucks Experience while conducting its business in ways that produce social, environmental and economic benefits for communities in which it does business. In addition to its retail operations, the Company produces and sells bottled Frappuccino (R) coffee drinks, Starbucks DoubleShot(TM) coffee drink, and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships. The Company's brand portfolio provides a wide variety of consumer products. Tazo Tea's line of innovative premium teas and Hear Music's exceptional compact discs enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products.

    * Comments:


    Not really a success story when the current spot price for the most expensive coffee on the NY exchange is just less than US$1.50 per pound and Starbucks sell it for US$22 per pound (even more if you have it as a capuccino).

    In simple calculation this means that the margin of $20+ per pound requires them to sell less than 1000 pounds of coffee to recoup their investment. I imagine that is the consumption of coffee in New York in a single day. Far better to give the growers a higher price so that all benefit every year, not just when Starbucks want to appear gratuitous,

    Bob Ikin

    Not really a success story when the current spot price for the most expensive coffee on the NY exchange is just less than US$1.50 per pound and Starbucks sell it for US$22 per pound (even more if you have it as a capuccino).

    In simple calculation this means that the margin of $20+ per pound requires them to sell less than 1000 pounds of coffee to recoup their investment. I imagine that is the consumption of coffee in New York in a single day. Far better to give the growers a higher price so that all benefit every year, not just when Starbucks want to appear gratuitous,

    Bob Ikin
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    Monday, March 07, 2005

    157 nearly extinct languages in the Pacific

    A UN Conference on Trade and Development report on protecting traditional knowledge argues that beyond a devastating impact on culture, the death of a language wipes out centuries of know-how in preserving ecosystems - leading to grave consequences for biodiversity. What does this mean for the Pacific? The impact could be great, as the article below suggests that many languages in the region are on their way to extinction. Dr Steven Winduo is director of the Melanesian and Pacific Studies (MAPS) School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Papua New Guinea. Source: Post Courier, Tuesday 8 March 2005. Thanks to Warea Orapa for pointing out the article.

    In the last report on “Our languages: Dying out . . .” which appeared on Tuesday March 1, on Focus, Dr Steven Winduo explained how an earlier report on language loss had prompted reaction from New Zealand. It was from Jim Toner, a one-time chief clerk of the District Office in Mendi between 1957 and 1959 and later in Rabaul from 1960 and 1964 who wrote about the Makolkol in 2002. Mr Toner was a field manager of the New Guinea Research Unit (ANU), now known as the National Research Institute (NRI) in Port Moresby between 1965 and 1973. Mr Toner summarised the report by David Fenbury of the Department of District Services and Native Affairs who led two patrols to end the notoriety of the Makolkol in “their habit of raiding outlying hamlets and butchering men, women and children and disappearing without trace”. However, the Makolkols are one ethnic group from the East New Britain Province who have lost their language. In the second and last part of this report Dr Winduo informs us of other languages which are on the way out, warning that something needs to be done to protect our languages.

    The 14th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World, lists 417 languages in the world as nearly extinct. They are classified as extinct because there are only a few elderly speakers of the language who are still living. Of the African languages, 37 of these are on their way out. In the Americas, 161 languages are classified as nearly extinct. In Asia, 55 languages face extinction while Europe has seven languages experiencing the same.

    The second largest region where languages are on their way out is the Pacific with 157 languages facing death. Of 157 nearly extinct languages in the Pacific, 12 of them are Papua New Guinean languages. Thanks to SIL (PNG), we are able to identify them. They are:
    • Abaga, a Trans-New Guinea language with only five speakers is spoken in the Goroka District of the Eastern Highlands Province. The last known data was established by SIL in 1994, a radical language loss experienced since 1975 when SIL recorded 1200 speakers of the language.
    • Bilakura, a Trans-New Guinea language with only 30 speakers living in the Adelbert Range of Madang Province. The linguists Stephen Wurm and Hattori recorded 34 speakers in 1981, but this was reduced to 30 speakers by the year 2000.
    • Gorovu or Gorova or Yerani, a Sepik-Ramu language spoken in Bangapela village along Ramu River in the East Sepik Province had 50 speakers in 1981 as recorded by Wurm and Hattori. This was reduced to 15 speakers in 2000 by the time Wurm visited that language group.
    • Gweda, an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian language family was spoken by 30 to 40 people in the Maramatana Local Council, in Alotau District of Milne Bay Province and was last visited by SIL in 2000.
    • Guramalum, an Austronesian language of Malayo-Polynesian, Central Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Western Oceanic, Meso Melanesian family was spoken by only three or four speakers, in 1987 as established by SIL then. This language is found in the New Ireland Province.
    • Kawacha, a Trans-New Guinea language, according to Wurm (2000) had only 12 speakers living east of Ampale and in part of the Katsiong, Morobe Province.
    • Kamasa, a Trans-New Guinea language, according to Wurm (2000) had only six to eight speakers living in part of the Katsiong Census Unit, Morobe Province. The linguist McElhanon recorded 20 speakers in 1978.
    • Laua or Labu, a Trans-New Guinea language spoken with only one speaker living north and west of Laua, (Mailu) in the Central Province. The last data was collected by SIL in 1987.
    • Sene, a Trans-New Guinea, Main Section, Central and Western language with 10 speakers living along Huon-Finisterre Range of Morobe Province. McElhanon recorded 10 or fewer speakers in 1978, although the situation hadhardly changed in 2000 according to Wurm.
    • Susuami, a Trans-New Guinea, Main Section, Central and Western language spoken by 10 speakers in 2000, according to Wurm. Susuami is a language spoken around the Upper Watut Valley outside Bulolo of Morobe Province. In 1990 Geoff Smith recorded 15 speakers.
    • Makolkol, an East Papuan, Yele-Solomons-New Britain language spoken by seven speakers, according to SIL report of 1988. Makolkol is spoken in the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain Province.
    • Unserdeutsch or Rabaul Creole German, the last language to go out is a Creole that is German based. Greg Volker recorded in 1981 a total of 100 or fewer speakers including 15 in New Britain, a few in other parts of PNG and the rest in southeastern Queensland, Australia. Unserdeutsch is spoken in West New Britain and Australia. According to the Ethnologue “all speakers are fluent in at least two of the following: Standard German, English, or Tok Pisin. Some can also speak Kuanua”.
    Most speakers are middle-aged or older, although many younger members of the community can understand it. The descendent of a pidginised form of Standard German which originated in the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain during the German colonial times among the Catholic mixed-race (“Vunapope”) community. With increased mobility and intermarriage, it has been disappearing in the last few decades. In my previous articles, I raised the concern that if we are not decisive about taking action to prevent this catastrophic situation of language loss, we will lose another two or three languages. The facts provided in this article indicate that most languages lost three to five speakers within a time frame of 10 years. Some of the languages could have been lost since 1987 or even after 2000. We cannot be sure — all the more reason for us to give some serious thoughts and national priority to saving our languages, cultures, and people.

    As a start I suggest two strategies. First, a major nationwide survey on all Papua New Guinean languages should be instituted by the National Government. The results of the survey will assist the Government and appropriate institutions to work together to prevent language loss, promote vernacular languages use in oral and written forms, develop orthographies, co-ordinate translations, and consistently monitor those languages classified as near extinction.Under the direction of the Melanesian and Pacific Studies (MAPS) at UPNG, our own national linguists and students in language courses can carry out this survey if sufficient funds are made available for saving our national languages, cultures and people.The second suggestion is one that is long overdue.

    The eminent Papua New Guinea linguists the late Otto Nekitel, proposed a National Language Academy a decade ago in 1993, but no one took notice of this (Nekitel 1995). Papua New Guinea needs a National Language Institute (NLI) devoted solely to the study of Papua New Guinean languages, research, documentation, survey, and training of Papua New Guineans as linguists, translators, language planners, language surveyors, writers, and researchers. My suggestion may be too ambitious, but I am firm with one thing: If we don’t take any decisive action now we will continue to witness the death of our national languages. If we are not concerned about losing our languages then we can all sit back, relax and watch our 854 languages (Barbara Grimes 1992; Nekitel 1998) disappear one by one just like the Makolkols, Laua or Labu, Kamasa, Kaniet and Yoba. So far 10 languages are dead and 12 more are on their way out, which is a subtraction of 22 or more from the 854 languages to leave us with 832 languages or less by the year 2010. Are we happy with that?

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    Botanic gardens in the Pacific

    Botanic Garden Conservation News is the newsletter of Botanic Gardens Conservation International. It carries news from botanic gardens around the world.

    A review of botanic gardens around the world printed in Botanic Gardens Conservation News 3(6) June, 2001 can be found here. You can also read a summary here. According to the study, there are currently 2,204 botanic gardens known in the world. Over 500 botanic gardens occur in Western Europe, more than 350 in North America and over 200 in East and Southeast Asia, of which the majority are in China. Most of the southern Asian botanic gardens are to be found in India. Most regions of the world have a range of botanic gardens, although there are relatively few in North and Southern Africa, the Caribbean islands, the Pacific islands, South West Asia and the Middle East.

    The majority of botanic gardens in the Pacific region are in Australia and New Zealand. There are relatively few in the Pacific Ocean Islands (other than in Hawaii - included under the U.S.A.). Numbers are as follows: Australia (128), New Zealand (20), Fiji (2), Western Samoa (2), Solomon Islands (1), Palau (1).

    According to the study, the following PICTs did not have botanic gardens as of 2001:

    • Cook Islands
    • French Polynesia
    • Guam
    • Kiribati
    • Marshall Islands
    • Micronesia
    • Nauru
    • New Caledonia
    • Pitcairn Islands, Henderson and Ducie
    • Saipan and Tinian
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • U.S. Pacific Trust Territories
    • Vanuatu

    This may have changed since, and it would be interesting to know of any new botanic gardens around the region.

    The role of botanic gardens in the conservation of Europe’s overseas territories is discussed here. The overseas territories of Europe are often much richer in plant biodiversity than their sovereign or associated Member State. For example, in France (Métropole) there are just 250 endemic plant species compared with 1,796 in Nouvelle-Calédonie/Kanaky (New Caledonia). This Territoire d’Outre-Mer (TOM) is an IUCN recognised Centre of Plant Diversity along with four other European overseas territories.

    Accoding to the article, "absolute priority must be placed on the development of within territory conservation facilities such as field gene banks and managed reserves. Botanic gardens in the Member States can take an active role in supporting projects in the territories. In 1997, the Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest hosted a conference on the threatened plants of France, including key presentations from the French DOM/TOMs. Existing ex situ collections should act as a ‘shop window’ for directing resources and funding to overseas territory activities. For example, island issues are promoted through interpretation panels at the Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest and the new Nouvelle-Calédonie/Kanaky glasshouse at the Jardin Botanique, Mairie de Paris."

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    Endeavour Botanical Illustrations

    From Scott's Botanical Link.

    The Botany Library of the British Natural History Museum holds all of the surviving botanical artwork from the voyage of HMS Endeavour (1768-1771), which was the first voyage devoted exclusively to scientific discovery, and Captain James Cook's first Pacific adventure. Over 30,000 plant specimens where collected, representing over 3,600 species, 1,400 of which were new. This site presents most of the botanical drawings and engravings prepared by artist Sydney Parkinson before his untimely death at sea, and by other artists back in England working from Parkinson's initial sketches.

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    Farmer Field Schools

    The Farmer Field School Resource Centre for Community-Based Adult Education has a number of downloadable resources intended to provide information about Farmer Field Schools. It is sponsored by a number of field school facilitators so that all interested persons will have access to this empowering educational process. Contact: info@farmerfieldschool.net.

    The Community IPM website, which is linked from the above site, has been the standard for IPM Farmer Field School Programmes in Asia and contains the largest collection of documents on numerous aspects of training, impact, participatory research etc.

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    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Forum wants to bring down price of food staples

    Thanks to Grahame Jackson for pointing out the following news story from ABC this morning. What will the effect of this scheme be on farmers growing local staple crops?

    Bringing down the price of staple food items such as rice, flour and sugar is the aim of a new project being undertaken by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. These items put a significant cost burden on low income families across the region. A bulk-buying scheme for Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu is already on the drawing board and other countries could use similar systems.

    Presenter/Interviewer: Jemima Garrett
    Speakers: Jared Morris, Import Management Advisor, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

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    The perils of value-adding

    The following article from The Jakarta Post shows that although adding value to local products through processing can be a good idea, e.g. to promote local crops and varieties, it is not necessarily all that easy.

    Giant French retailer Carrefour chokes on fried banana

    Zakki P. Hakim and Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

    Who would have thought that a Rp 5,000 (54 U.S. cents) fried banana could make the French retailing giant Carrefour come up against the government, legislators, a fair competition commission and the press?

    Carrefour -- the second largest retailer in the world with operations in 29 countries and global sales of 70.5 billion euro (US$91.65 billion) in 2003 -- is now under the spotlight as the authorities found it necessary to closely monitor a dispute between the hypermarket and a small supplier of fried banana and cassava chips over what is called a "listing fee".

    Susanto, chairman of the Association of Modern Market Suppliers (AP3MI), said the listing fee -- a significant sum suppliers have to pay to get their products on store shelves -- and other promotion-supporting fees had deterred small businesses to sell in the Carrefour chain.

    "That is why we have put a fight against Carrefour about the Rp 5,000 fried banana (firm) as the giant market is killing off smaller snack suppliers," he told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

    The legal dispute began last October when Carrefour decided not to put two products supplied by PT Sariboga Snacks on displays, although the latter had paid a total listing fee of Rp 47.3 million to the hypermarket.

    Carrefour explanation was that the products, packaged fried banana and cassava chips, failed to meet the standard for display at the hypermarket chain.

    The supplier eventually went bankrupt and Sariboga demanded Carrefour pay the listing fee back, but the latter refused.

    The AP3MI, on behalf of Sariboga, then filed a complaint against the hypermarket to the Business Competition Supervisory Committee (KPPU) over allegations of unfair competition.

    However, Carrefour Indonesia president director Herv‚ Clec'h said separately that his chain had acted properly in the matter.

    Clec'h said: "The snack supplier (Sariboga) was not a manufacturer, but only packaging the products it obtained from smaller firms".

    Packaging firms depended on a small margin due to the small value they added to the products, thus Sariboga could not afford the listing fee, he said on Friday.

    Clec'h said the listing fee was a common practice in retailer-supplier business relationships globally and it was a subject to negotiations.

    The "listing fee" depended on the market position of the supplier. The less-known the brand or the less indispensable the product is, the higher the listing fee is.

    Since retailers like Carrefour naturally have a stronger position against suppliers, most of them had to pay big listing fees.

    "We have hundreds of other small-scale suppliers, but only one is having a problem (with the listing fee)," he said.

    However, in the case of big manufacturers such as Unilever and Nestl‚, as Clec'h admitted, Carrefour was in the weaker position. He said big consumer good companies usually did not pay listing fees as Carrefour need their products.

    Carrefour started the first hypermarket here in 1998, opening its first outlet in Kuningan, South Jakarta, and offering a range of about 50,000 products -- from electronics, screwdrivers, clothes, meat, fruits, vegetables, to fresh-from-the-oven pastries.

    Today, there are 15 Carrefour hypermarkets in the country, with total sales at Rp 3 trillion last year.

    Its success prompted other retailers such as Hero and Matahari to expand into the hypermarket business. Since then, five hypermarket operators opened 54 outlets in the Greater Jakarta alone.

    However, following this case, the House of Representatives and the government are promising to issue a presidential decree to better regulate the expansion of modern markets in the country.

    The issue has been widened into protection of the country's traditional markets from rapidly-growth modern markets, which have been blamed decreasing jobs in the retail sector.

    "The government has other urgent things to regulate, such as infrastructure and education. Distribution activities had been doing well. It should not become an urgent matter," Clec'h said.

    A case of snack dispute has now been escalating into a possible restriction for hypermarkets to expand their existing stores in the country.

    As Susanto put it: "This fried banana case made Carrefour to have an annoying toothache".

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    Cook Islands and Samoa ratify the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

    From Sydney Suma, Coordinator: Biosecurity & Trade Facilitation, SPC.

    I wish to inform all PPPO Member Countries that Cook Islands and Samoa have now ratified the new revised text (1997) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and thus are now Contracting Parties to the IPPC. As the Secretariat of the PPPO we extend our congratulations to Cook Islands and Samoa on their wisdom and we look forward to working closely with them and assisting them on their application of the IPPC and its principles.

    The PPPO Secretariat also wishes to encourage other (PPPO) Member Countries who have yet to deposit their instruments of ratification to take the step taken by Cook Islands and Samoa and ratify the IPPC. There are numerous benefits from being a Contracting Parties to the IPPC and are explained in the information materials circulated to you respective offices previously. However should you require more information on the IPPC or its objectives your Secretariat is too happy to disburse the relevant information to you.

    Cook Islands and Samoa now join Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands as Contracting Parties to the IPPC from our region.

    Sidney Suma
    Coordinator: Biosecurity & Trade Facilitation
    Land Resources Division
    Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
    Private Mail Bag Service, SUVA
    Ph: (679) 337 0733, Fax: (679) 337 0021
    Ph D/L: (679) 337 9231
    Email: sidneys@spc.int
    website: www.spc.int/pps/
    (Secretariat to the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation)

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    Two new EU Regional Projects in the Pacific

    The following Joint Statement by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat & the Delegation of the European Commission for the Pacific describes two new EU-funded regional projects for the Pacific. The second may be of relevance to PGRa ndbiodiversity conservation.

    Fourteen Pacific Island countries will benefit from two new regional projects funded by the European Union.

    “These latest projects underline the strong support by the EU for development in the region, and the Forum is very grateful,” said Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, who is also Regional Authorising Officer for the EU’s multilateral assistance to the region.

    Mr Urwin, and the Acting Head of Delegation of the European Commission for the Pacific, Ms. Maria Ralha, signed Financing Agreements for both projects totaling €3.56 million (FJD7.5 million).

    The “Development of Tuna Fisheries in Pacific ACP Countries” (DEVFISH) project will be implemented by the Honiara-based Forum Fisheries Agency in conjunction with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Noumea. Its goal is to increase economic benefits to the 14 Pacific ACP countries through better management of its tuna resources. The project aims to increase indigenous private sector involvement in the management and development of the tuna fishery and to address important trade issues for tuna products. The €3 million project will be run over four years.

    The other project, the “Pacific Environment Information Network” (PEIN), will be implemented by the Apia-based South Pacific Regional Environment Programme over a three-year period. The project builds upon earlier work to establish environment information networks across all Pacific ACP countries. The network is used to share environment information so that countries may better plan environment strategies and initiatives. This phase of the project totals €560,000 (FJD1.2 million) and will focus on the Cook Islands, Niue, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Nauru. Phase one of the project received international acclaim by winning the environment category in the “Stockholm Challenge” in 2004.

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    Samoa women's coconut project praised

    From Pacific Womens' Information Network

    By Keni Ramese Lesa, from New York

    It was a simple picture from a small country thousands of miles away from the city that never sleeps, New York.

    It was one of a Samoan woman, dressed in a flowery ie lavalava, t-shirt and is pressing dried coconut to extract oil.

    Yet at the DAG Hamarskhold Library at the United Nations Headquarters yesterday afternoon, that simple picture became the talking point for some 40 women from all over the world.

    And it did more than that.

    It not only turned discussions to the activities and entrepreneurship of women in small island Samoa, it highlighted the success of Samoan women in business, thanks to an initiative by the Samoa Women in Business Development Incorporated (SWBDI).

    The project is the Virgin Coconut Oil administered by SWBDI, involving over 13 cooperatives and hundreds of Samoan women. It started in 1996 as part of its micro-finance and micro-project and micro-enterprise scheme.

    The project allows SWBDI and participating members to use a technology called Direct Micro Expelling Process (DME) to produce organic virgin coconut oil for exports to markets in New Zealand and Australia.

    The project is said to have not only improved the livelihoods of women involved, it has also improved the lives of their families, churches and villages. On top of that, it has revived coconut production and is contributing to export earnings.

    The Virgin Coconut Project is one of six case studies from around the world now part of a book called “Chains of Fortune: Linking women producers and workers with global markets.”

    According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the book hopes to address then issue of globalisation in the sense that the concept does have its positives despite what other people think.

    Yesterday, the Samoan delegation joined representatives from around the Commonwealth to share their success story during the Expert Panel discussions. The book compiled by the Commonwealth Secretariat, was officially there.

    “This is an inspiring story from Samoa and it should be an example for all of us to follow,” Commonwealth Secretariat’s Gender, Poverty Eradication and Economic Empowerment Adviser, Saronjini Ganju Thakur remarked.

    “The women of Samoa have proven that women are capable of doing these things and I suggest we take some ideas from them and learn what we can from their success so that we can implement similar success stories in our countries.”

    Ms Thakur credited SWBDI for Samoa’s success and she said it was another indication of how efforts to advance women was making progress in Samoa.

    SWBDI’s representative, Arasi Tiotio told the gathering that Samoa was humble about its success. She was also acknowledged the Commonwealth Secretariat for recognising Samoa’s efforts.

    “The project combines three concepts that are dear to the heart of Women in Business endevaours: tradition, trade and technology,” she said.

    Asked to elaborate, she said: “Tradition is protected as family groups who remain within the village do the work. The product is a pure version of an ancient product.

    “Trade is encourage by the local and international sale of the oil and value added products such as scented oils and soaps. The participants are given the opportunity to learn small business management and to partake in a micro-finance scheme which teaches them credit discipline and saving methods.

    “Technology comes in the form of applying the Direct Micro Expelling technology.”

    Five other Commonwealth Secretariat Gender Publications were also launched yesterday.

    They were:

    • A decade of Commonwealth Action
    • Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for gender equality
    • Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction
    • Gender and Human Rights in the Commonwealth
    • The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015

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