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?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Posted 3:04 PM by Luigi
Rice farming could harm Solomon food security, warns KGA
Kastom Gaden Association press release, 16.5.05
Large-scale rice farming for cash crops is unsustainable and could harm the future production of the Solomon Island’s indigenous staple foods, Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) has warned. The community development NGO has voiced its concern in response to plans by the Solomon Island Department of Agriculture to significantly expand rice production across the provinces.
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) reported earlier this month that the Government of Taiwan has pledged SB$5million worth of rice seedlings and machinery to help Solomon farmers produce their own crops, with the aim of reducing the country’s dependency on imported rice. The government’s support for this programme was reiterated by a visit last week by agriculture permanent secretary Edward Kingmele to a training rice farm at St Joseph’s Tenaru Secondary School, Honiara. Mr Kingmele told the Solomon Star that “rice is a staple food and a source of food security.”
However, KGA argues that moving towards more rice production is actually a negative trend and can harm food security because it creates more dependency among farmers on government money, overseas aid and fertilisers and pesticides. Inia Barry, KGA manager, said: “Rice production only succeeds with subsidies and these may not always be available. It also relies on transport, fertiliser, pesticides and machines that soon break down. In KGA’s experience most families give up growing rice after a few seasons because it is harder work and more risky than growing root crops like sweet potato. ”
He said the government should be focusing its resources on the production of the Solomon Island’s locally grown staple foods, which far outweigh rice consumption. KGA reports that sweet potato, followed by cassava, banana, taro, coconut, pana and yam make up an estimated 430,000 tonnes of food produced per year. In contrast, only a tiny quantity of rice is grown by villagers through aid supported projects, with production likely to be less than 100 tonnes per year. According to the KGA study, about 23,500 tonnes of rice was imported in the year ending April 30 2004. However, KGA found the consumption of rice is actually falling because of a steadily rising population.
Mr. Barry added that Taiwan is also a major producer of sweet potato. He suggested: “We should ask for assistance in root crop processing and value adding, such as producing sweet potato noodles, which would build on what local people are already good at.”
For further information, please contact press officer Louise Hunt at Kastom Gaden Association.
Kastom Gaden Association
PO Box 742, Honiara, Solomon Islands
Phone: (677) 39551
Fax: (677) 30840
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