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, June 06, 2005
Posted 2:22 PM by Luigi
Promoting local bananas in Pohnpei
From Dr Lois Englberger of the Island Food Community of Pohnpei (IFCP).
I would like to share with you a little about the Youth to Youth Fair 2005, held May 27 at the Pohnpei Gym, and IFCP's involvement. There were over 500 people participating, including students, teachers, parents and others.
This is a program of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP). Although I was not able to attend, those from CSP running the program (Nick Donre assisted by Ben Namakin) contacted me and shared with me about how inspiring it was to see the presentation by the Seinwar students on conserving the rare banana varieties of Pohnpei.
At the Youth to Youth Fair, the Seinwar students passed out banana recipes that they had learned to make during the year (Karat Bread and Daiduhs-Taiwang Pancakes). Some students even brought samples of those dishes so that people could try. They explained how they had learned about the different Pohnpei bananas and how valuable they are for our health and even used the term beta-carotene, which is the most important of the provitamin A carotenoids, the precursor to vitamin A that is contained in the yellow-fleshed varieties.
The students said that it is important to protect these varieties, because if any of the varieties were to be lost, it would not only mean that they would be losing that banana, they would also be losing a part of their culture.
Students also explained that after the session on planting Karat, they planted rare varieties with their families on their own land.
Youth to Youth is a program involving selected schools each year and working with the Class 6 schoolchildren. Certain topics of conservation have been chosen for raising awareness among children. The Island Food Community of Pohnpei was invited to join the program last year and to work in the area of the conservation of rare banana varieties. Classes are held monthly with the students throughout the school year. This year IFCP worked with the Class 6 students at Seinwar.
Amy Levendusky (Peace Corps Micronesia), Yumiko Paul (Pohnpei Department of Health), Engly Ioanis (College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant), Ben Namikin (CSP), and I facilitated the different classes, which included lessons on the Pohnpei Bananas poster, a cooking class, a Karat planting class, along with quizzes and prizes to those students writing down the right answer or being able to list the greatest number of carotenoid-rich varieties. The Task Force Sight and Life, a humanitarian organization in Switzerland, provided cloth bags as prizes for the winners in three sessions, and IFCP Banana calendars were provided as prizes to students for another quiz. The Pacific German Regional Forestry Project provided funds for implementing the classes.
One of the highlights for the year was a field trip to the Pilot Farm Banana Genebank Collection, which has over 30 Pohnpei varieties of bananas, all carefully labeled. This is a project of Pohnpei Agriculture, led by Adelino Lorens.
CSP is now working with the Micronesian Seminar to put together a video for broadcasting on the local Pohnpei television. Be sure to watch if you can, and join in the excitement of the Seinwar youth for the wonderful bananas of Pohnpei!
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