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?



    Friday, March 04, 2005

    "Yam" festival in Jamaica

    From the Jamaica Observer, an article describing a Yam Festival being organized in one of the island's parishes. I believe "yam" is the word used for sweet potato in Jamaica, but I stand to be corrected. In any case, it does show the kind of event that could be organized in support of plant genetic resources conservation, for example as part of agricultural shows, as is already happening in some places in the Pacific.

    Mark Cummings, Observer staff reporter, 5 March 2005

    The Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA), organisers of the parish's popular yam festival, are hoping to attract more than 25,000 patrons and net in excess of $1-million in profit from this year's event.

    The festival is being staged on March 28 this year in Albert Town, at a cost of $3-million."Our feeling this year is that we are going to attract about 25,000 people because over the years we have been seeing increases. In addition, we are going to have some new features this time around," STEA's chairman Hugh Dixon said of the festival which attracted an estimated 18,000 patrons and earned $622,000 in profit last year.

    Among the new features to be incorporated into the festival, the STEA head said, is the inclusion of participants from other islands like St Lucia and Suriname to showcase their own culinary delights and crafts. In addition, he noted that several persons from the parish would be honoured for their outstanding contributions to the country. Other activities at the festival will include:

    • the yam king and queen competition
    • yam displays and environmental features
    • the vintage music corner as well as a presentation of cultural items
    The availability of a wide variety of local cuisine is to top it all off.

    The Trelawny festival was first held in 1997 on the grounds of the Albert Town High School to help raise funds for STEA's environmental projects. Over the next three years, it grew rapidly and attracted both local and overseas patrons. However, its 2001 staging saw STEA chalking up losses of more than $400,000, despite a record 12,000 patrons in attendance. The agency cited the lack of a proper venue to stage the event as the main cause of the losses, and said that a new venue would have to be found.

    A site was later identified in the nearby Spring Garden community, but plans to put in the necessary infrastructure fell through after a breakdown in the negotiations between STEA and the Agriculture Ministry. After a two-year hiatus, the show returned and was held at the Albert Town square.

    Meanwhile, this year's show will see the entire Albert Town community cordoned off while traffic coming from the Northern section of Trelawny and from Manchester will be diverted.

    * Comments:

    Bob Ikin points out that in fact "yam" is Dioscorea in Jamaica. It turns out that yam cultivation is a threat to forests in Jamaica. Farmers use saplings harvested from the forest as "yam sticks" to support the plant as it grows. Yam stick demand is estimated to be six million per year.

    I came across the following description of yam preservation in Jamaica. Probably there are similar methods in use in the Pacific?

    "Yam was one of the main staples of the population and was, and still is, grown widely across Jamaica. It was reserved to carry families through hard times or when foodstuff was scarce.

    All kinds of yams were preserved but the best-suited yams included Renta, Muzella, White Yam and Puppa Will. Today the practice of curing yams has died out except in a few rural districts.

    The best quality and the largest tubers were taken out of the ground and handled carefully so that no bruises would take place, as this would cause the yam to rot. The yam would be treated by sprinkling a generous coat of ashes at the top where it was cut from the yam head. The ashes came from the same burnt wood in the fireside. The heap of yam would be put in the hot sun for a couple of days to be dried. This drying process resulted in the yam getting very hard. It would then be stored in a cool dry place away from contact with any form of moisture.

    Most yams would stay in the desired space and become very dry within three months. Yam preserved in this way could last for over a year. Such a yam would be very powdery and delicious when boiled. Many people therefore liked to eat this kind of yam. Other ground provisions such as dasheens could also be preserved in this way but yams was the popular tuber for preservation."
    In addition to the earlier comment noted by Luigi, Jamaica has also been involved in the development of yam minitubers as planting stock. This was prompted because it promotes the development of even tuber size that is more acceptable to the market. I think it was an IITA project (I was in Jamaica in 1986). Jamaica is now one of the main exporters of yam worldwide, much of it to the US.
    Bob Ikin
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