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?



    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Collecting Wild Rice, Wild Vigna and Sago in East Sepik and Madang Provinces, PNG

    by Rosa Kambuou, NARI


    A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on collaborative Research Program on Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) between the Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the National Institute of Agro-biological Sciences (NIAS) of Japan was signed in September/October of 2003. This is the second collecting trip in PNG. The first trip was undertaken last June looking only at wild Vigna both in PNG and in Japan. A PGR cadet scientist from NARI went to Japan last October for the collecting of wild Vigna in Japan and to study how the genes flow from the cultivated Vigna into the wild population. The MOA also included the collecting of sago germplasm for NARI.

    Objectives of the collecting trip

    There is very little knowledge or information on the wild rice and wild Vigna found in PNG. There is incomplete information on the herbarium specimens held in Europe and also in the Lae herbarium. According to the Japanese experts on these crops there is very little genomic information on these wild species. The purpose of these collecting trips was to identify the wild population of these crops and collect samples for the genomic studies. Information from the genomic studies would be able to reveal how related these wild progenitors are to the cultivated crops and would also broaden the scientific knowledge of these crops and their wild relatives.

    The overall objectives of the collaboration between PNG NARI and NIAS of Japan is spelt out in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) .

    Members of the collecting team

    The Collecting Team comprised of Dr Duncan Vaughan, Dr Akito Kaga, Mrs Janet Paofa and Mrs Rosa Kambuou. Drs Vaughan and Kaga are from the National Institute of Agro-biological Sciences (NIAS) of Japan and Mrs Paofa and Kambuou are from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of Papua New Guinea, based at NARI Dry-lowlands Programme Laloki.

    Dr Vaughan is an expert in rice genomics and Dr Kaga is in the genomics of Vigna, with special interest in wild Vigna. Mrs Paofa is a Research Associate with the NARI Genetic Resources Programme and a National Curator of four National Germplasm Collections while Mrs Kambuou is the Scientist in-charge of NARI’s Genetic Resources Programme.

    Location of collection

    The visiting scientists from NIAS arrived in PNG on 13th June 2005. NARI researchers joined them on 14th June then the collecting team flew to Lae than Madang. While in Lae the team paid a courtesy call on the Director-General of NARI and visited the Forest Research Institute (FRI) to look at the herberium specimens.

    In Madang the team paid a courtesy call on the Madang Provincial Agriculture Advisor (PAA) Mr Godfrey Savi (acting PAA) and made arrangements for the collecting trip in Madang Province. The team also visited the World Vision (NGO group), had discussions with the Program Manager Mr Fred J Hombuanje for transport arrangements for the collecting in Madang.

    The following day the team flew to Wewak called upon the Provincial Agriculture Advisor of East Sepik Province (ESP), Mr Benjamin Sani and made arrangements for Agriculture personnel to accompany the team into the Sepik River. The team was assisted by a private businessman Mr Ismael Singut who provided the vehicle, the boat and the local guides.

    In ESP the collecting team collected wild Vigna specimen along the Wewak-Pagwi highway, at Pagwi Sub-District Station and at Chambri lakes. The team also collected wild rice specimen at Sotmeri Barat, at Aibom village in Chambri lakes, at Korogu and Savanaut villages along the Sepik River and along the mouth of the Black Water River near Sangriman village. The sago accessions were collected from Aibom village in Chambri lakes, at Yamanumbu village and at the Pagwi Sub-District Station.

    In Madang Province the team traveled to Walium Sub-District Station collected wild Vigna specimen and cassava accessions along the Madang-Lae highway. The team traveled to the lower Ramu River to a village called Nemnem through Bogia along the North Coast Road where specimens of wild Vigna were collected. At Nemnem village the team also collected wild rice and sago accessions. While in Madang the team also visited the Bogadjim-Asui areas and collected wild rice, cassava, yam and sago.

    Specimens collected

    A total of 16 accessions of sago, 6 cassava, one yam, 21 specimens of wild Vigna and 9 specimens of wild rice were collected during the collecting trip to Madang and East Sepik Provinces. The wild Vigna and the wild rice are collected for the genomic study to be undertaken by the NIAS scientists in Japan. The sago, cassava and the yam accessions collected are for research to be undertaken by the scientists of PNG NARI. Sago research will be carried out at NARI Wet-lowlands Programme, Bubia in Lae while the cassava and yam research will be conducted at NARI Dry-lowlands Programme at Laloki.

    What will happen to the materials collected?

    For the wild rice and wild Vigna, the scientists from NIAS will undertake the studies on the genomics of these plants. The scientists from NIAS believed that wild rice Oryza schlechleri is a tetraploid and they want to find out more about the genomics of this particular speci and how it is related to the cultivated rice which is the diploid. It is very difficult to get both O. rufipogon and O. schlechleri to flower. Due to unavailability of seeds, the NIAS scientists took plant parts of these wild rice to Japan for the genomic studies. The ‘duplicate’ collection of all the three Oryza species are deposited at NARI Laloki, currently being maintained in the green house. Once established the species will than be transferred to NARI Bubia for maintenance where the Rice Research Programme is being carried out.

    For wild Vigna, both seeds and plants were collected. The ‘duplicate’ seed collection is deposited at NARI Laloki, which will be germinated and later planted out in the field. The plant specimens (leaves & vines) are taken to Japan for the genomic study.

    The collected sago germplasm was sent to NARI Bubia to establish the National Sago Germplasm Collection as a source of genetic materials for sago research by NARI.

    The collected cassava and yam accessions are currently grown in green house and will be later added to the existing National Germplasm Collections of these crops held at NARI Laloki. The focus of the National Cassava Collection is not only to ensure the safety of the genetic diversity of PNG cassava, but also to identify high yielding cassava cultivars that can be released to farmers for production when the proposed Ethanol Industry becomes a reality.


    The entire collecting trip was very successful. After the genomic studies are conducted on the specimens collected, the scientific knowledge on the wild progenitors of Vigna and rice in PNG would be broadened and we would also know with confidence whether these wild relatives of rice and vigna in PNG are of any use for further investigation in Crop Improvement Programmes.

    The collecting team had good discussions with the Heads of Agriculture in both the Madang and East Sepik Provinces. It was good to personally meet the people who are actually responsible for agriculture development in these Provinces.

    The trip would not have been successful without the much-needed assistance provided by the World Vision and interested private Businessman Mr Ismael Singut. Both the World Vision and Mr Singut provided the vehicles, the boats and the local guides who assisted the team throughout the entire trip.


    The collecting team is indebted to the following Organisations and people who made this trip highly successful.

    First, many thanks goes to the Provincial Departments of Primary Industry and the Agriculture Advisors who gave the team the green light to visit their provinces and the arrangements for their officers to accompany the team on the trips.

    The team acknowledges the Programme Manager of World Vision Madang and his friendly staff for their assistance and the use of their vehicle. Your kind assistance is gratefully acknowledged.

    In ESP, the team is indebted to Mr Ismael Singut and his family for the kind assistance given to them as well as the successful arrangements made for the use of the vehicle and the boat in and out of the collecting sites. To Mr Singut and family the team gratefully acknowledged your kind assistance.

    The team also acknowledges the Government of PNG through the Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC) for giving the approval for undertaking the collecting trip.

    Finally the team gratefully acknowledges the donar agencies for providing the funds for the collecting trip and the Heads of NIAS and NARI for the opportunity given to the team to collect the germplasm.

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