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?



    Wednesday, July 27, 2005


    From Island Business.

    It is of little exaggeration that leading Port Vila spice exporter, Charles Long Wah, is going nuts over nangai nuts. Indeed, the businessman believes the nuts, otherwise known as canarium indicum, is the most lucrative crop in Vanuatu.

    As it is, Wah says suppliers like him can't even meet local demand and supplies have to be boosted dramatically if they have to satisfy overseas markets as well.“At the moment, we supply hotels, restaurants, shops and we cannot satisfy them all. The local market outstrips what we can supply,” says Wah.

    Spending over a quarter of his life on studying the nuts, figures fall off Wah's mouth easily. Fully exploited, the man believes the nuts can employ up to 100,000 people, that's just about half of Vanuatu's population! Locals currently supply 160 tonnes of nangai nuts each year, which is a mere five percent of all nangai nuts available in the country. Since nangai trees grow wild in Vanuatu (as well as in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) and due to poor harvesting techniques, Wah says half-a-million tonnes go to waste every year. With prices hovering at around A$5000 a tonne, that's a whooping AUS$2.5 billion litter!

    “The main problem we've got at the moment is with the price of around A$5000 a tonne, the farmers harvest, they crack the nuts, they load them in the plane, and when they get the money, they don't want to work again because it's one of the highest incomes they ever had. It's very difficult.”Things are about to change though. With the help of AusAID, Wah has been contracted to hold training on harvesting and processing of the nuts in Vanuatu, and very soon the Solomon Islands and most probably Papua New Guinea. By his estimate, more nangai trees grow wild in the other two Melanesian countries: some two million in the Solomons and 10 million in PNG, compared to half a million only in Vanuatu. AusAID too is assisting in the processing of the nuts and this will enable Wah to move from a home-based processor to a factory-based one.

    “AusAID experts were here (recently) to finalise all the equipment, the packaging and marketing. “Australia is going to buy all our produce in the next few months. “At the moment everything is home-made, but we are going to a factory soon because AusAID is going to fund every equipment and train people in the island on how to do it.”Like everything else Wah does, developing the nangai nuts market in Vanuatu has been largely a one-man effort, with hardly any contribution from the Vanuatu Government. This is nothing new for Wah, whose self-driven work on kava and nangai nuts won him a gold exporters award in Europe in 2004. He still remembers his days as a radio announcer in the early 1970s with then Radio Vanuatu, where he used to promote kava cultivation.

    “On many occasions during news time, I would tell listeners to go and plant kava because we were not allowed to drink in pubs in those days, only whites were allowed to. “Go and plant your traditional drink, I would tell them, and it picked up because at that time majority of the kava was destroyed by the missionaries. When missionaries arrived here, they said kava was a devil's drink.“So kava was destroyed and many islands had no more kava plants. Only a few islands had them, islands like Pentecost, Tanna, and a few areas on Santo. “I was promoting every woman to plant 500 bush kava, every man, a thousand and the next year, I kept telling them, keep on planting. And since the last 35 years, we have become the largest exporter of kava in the Pacific.”

    Wah is now telling ni-Vanuatu to plant 365 nangai trees a year, a tree a day.

    “If you have 365 trees, it can contribute $50 per tree, and that's nearly $20,000 a year. “This is not value added. If it's value added, it will be much more. Besides, nangai trees growing in Melanesia are very deep-rooted and if you have a cyclone this year, it destroys the nuts and we won't have any nuts. But next year it will provide you with two harvests.”

    Years of experimenting led the Port Vila businessman to extend the shelf life of the nuts sold in bottles to two years. He's still working on plastic packaging whose shelf life span is currently limited to six months.

    He agrees that value-added is the way to go. To illustrate this, Wah says that value-adding which at the moment primarily consists of roasting the nuts and coating them with sugar or honey, or even chocolate, boosts prices from $5000 a tonne to more than $17,000 per tonne!Because of this, Wah believes the central government ought to promote and help develop the local nangai nuts market. According to him, promoting low value crops like taro and manioc (cassava) will only exacerbate poverty in rural Vanuatu.

    “A typical example is if you take North Efate where a man plants tapioca (manioc), it will take him six months, and when it's ready, he hires a Hilux (pick-up) to come and take the manioc to the factory. “The driver says the road is no good, and he can only take a tonne although the Hilux can take one tonne. He will load a tonne, or 500 kilos to the factory. “It costs him 8000 Vatu to go down to the factory with his load, and cost him 2000 Vatu to go back to the village. And he gets 20 cents per kilo. “He hasn't made a single profit on it. Automatically he creates poverty. “The problem is we are so isolated in the Pacific, we should value add the products. “Many developments in Vanuatu at this moment are not profitable. It just creates poverty and accelerates urban drift.”

    Meanwhile. Vanuatu took delivery of its new agricultural college built in Luganville on Santo Island by the Chinese Government. The school block and adjoining accommodation complex were handed over to local government officials last March. The complex cost the Chinese US$3 million.

    The Ministry of Agriculture hopes the college will be able to host students from other Pacific islands too.


    Higher world prices are keeping the local industry buoyant. The current prices are still higher than the 2003 price at US$344.1 per ton, says the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu in its quarterly economic review of December 2004. World market prices coupled with imports from Kiribati and the Solomon Islands took copra production last year to around 30,000 tons, although the Coconut Oil Product Limited mill in Santo can take up to 50,000 tons.

    Minister for Agriculture Barak Sope is now considering banning the export of live cattle to Indonesia due to its impact on beef export. The Santo abattoir says it's finding it difficult to meet its export targets due to the mass export of live animals by another Santo-based company. The Reserve Bank says over 3000 heads were exported in 2004.

    By the last quarter of 2004, the Reserve Bank noted a 2280 tons increase in kava exports than the previous quarter, mainly bound for Fiji and New Caledonia. The country's leading exporter Charles Long Wah estimates Vanuatu consumes 6000 tons of green kava a year, half of that in Port Vila alone.

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