A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Monday, May 23, 2005
Posted 3:29 PM by Luigi
"Katuk" in Pohnpei
From Dr Lois Englberger of the Island Food Community of Pohnpei.
As we shared with you previously, we are now carrying out a project in the village of Mand, Madolenihm, documenting the traditional food system of Pohnpei. Our team is an inter-agency one, involving Pohnpei Agriculture, College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant, Pohnpei Department of Health, Pohnpei Historic Preservation Office, US Peace Corps, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, as well as the Island Food Community of Pohnpei.
We were very interested last week to find out about a green leafy vegetable called "katuk". Kiped and Asipa Alpert have it growing near their house, and they explained that they had received it from the College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant program some years ago (but evidently it was not widely distributed or promoted as our inter-agency team was not familiar with it). The Alperts explained that it can be eaten raw as a salad vegetable, or cooked. We tasted the raw oval-shaped leaves, and they were in fact quite sweet and tasty.
Jackson Phillip was involved in the Land Grant program at the time of the introduction of this vegetable. We contacted him and he remembered it well and mentioned that katuk is known for reducing blood sugar. He pointed out that it is also good for diarrhea and stomach ache.
I have now located a published leaflet on katuk by the University of Hawaii. This is the Tropical Perennial Vegetable Leaflet No. 10 by Jay Ram, August 1994. This leaflet identifies katuk as the sweetleaf bush, or Sauropus androgynus. It says that it can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, as in soups, stews, and stir-fry dishes. It states that one-half cup (100 g) of this vegetable provides the entire estimated requirement for vitamin C.
The leaflet also states: "It is suspected that Sauropus contains a substance which tends to lower blood glucose. If proven to be true, the plant may be beneficial to diabetes." So this vegetable could help in protecting against and controlling diabetes, one of the major health problems here in Pohnpei, and also could provide an important local vegetable both for eating raw in salads, as well as cooked, and easy to grow outside the house with other food crops.
For those interested in getting plantlets of katuk, please contact COM-FSM Land Grant at 320-5731 or Pohnpei Agriculture at 320-2400.
Thanks again to the Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment, McGill University, Canada, for their involving us in this project.
Follow-up from Lois
There were several responses to the release on katuk, see below. Also, I want to share with you that it was Welsihter Hagilmai from the College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant who carried out the interview in Mand and found out about the katuk. Thank you, Welsey!
From Gibson Santos
This plant reminded me those years I had with COM/Land Grant/Home Gardening & Cooking demonstrations program with homemakers in the villages. This plant reached even Salapwuk village. But I'm not sure people kept it alive in some places. I guess the promotion was not very strong in the beginning.
From Jackson Phillip
Thank you Lois for sharing. I wish to share a few more with others. The 'reduce blood sugar' info regarding Katuk was made available to all CES nutrition staff and members of the Ieias Mwahu Committee (IMC). The discoveries of it as remedy for diarrhea and good for some stomach ache were here (myself). Katuk and Chaya were among the five vegetables and the Neem tree Jay Ram and I introduced through an ADAP project. Jay Ram is a private scientist and consultant on the Big Island. Anyone interested I can provide 100 cuttings every other day for the next 6 months.
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