A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Sunday, May 08, 2005
Posted 4:19 PM by Luigi
Cassava safe: NARI
Dispels fears following Philippine deaths
CASSAVA varieties found in Papua New Guinea are mostly safe for human consumption, the National Agriculture Research Institute said.
The institute’s assurance came after recent reports of 27 children dying and more than 100 others being hospitalised after eating cassava, or tapioka, in the Philippines. The deaths were said to have been caused by cyanide poisoning from cassava that was not properly prepared. However, it was later found the poisoning was caused by a pesticide found in the cassava mixture that the victims had eaten.
NARI acting director-general Dr Sergie Bang said research by the institute indicated that the PNG varieties have acceptable cyanide levels. The cyanide in the cassava can be destroyed by boiling or cooking.
“The cassava varieties found locally are safe for human consumption. These include the nine high-yielding and drought-tolerant cultivars that NARI has recommended for farmer adoption,” Dr Bang said.He said the local varieties as well as those found in other Pacific countries were low in cyanide contents.But he cautioned that cassava can be poisonous if eaten raw or not properly prepared. The more dangerous were the bitter varieties found mostly in Africa and Asia. He said if people were uncertain then they should soak fresh tubers in water for at least three days before preparing to eat.
He said the research by NARI also found that immature cassava tubers and tuber skin or peelings contained more cyanide than mature tubers and the flesh. “So, peeling would be encouraged and care should be taken in feeding livestock with fresh peelings,” Dr Bang said.
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