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?



    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    Rice blast in Fiji

    From the Fiji Times, 30 July 2005.

    THE spin doctors at the Ministry of Agriculture have been working overtime. At stake is the local rice industry — and the country's agricultural sector. In dispute is whether or not the Indonesian rice variety was tested for disease before it was distributed for planting.

    In his statement this week, the Chief Executive Officer for Agriculture Luke Ratuvuki makes the following points:
    • The rice blast fungus is a local disease;
    • The seeds from Indonesia were tested and declared clean;
    • If the seeds were contaminated, the fungal infection would have been detected in the first year of cultivation;
    • Presence of this fungus in Fiji was first detected by Campbell in 1926. It surfaced again in 1954, 1956, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1976, 1977 and 1979, and
    • The farmers will not be compensated because the seedlings were still being trialled and the ministry is doing all it can to help the farmers and contain the disease.
    Last year, three farmers in Dreketi planted the Indonesia variety on a trial basis.

    When the crop was harvested, production was so high that other rice farmers were tempted and encouraged to plant the new variety to boost local production. Fiji has to import rice to meet local demand. This year, seven farmers joined the three to grow what they thought would bring in better financial returns. Instead, they have lost more than just a harvest.

    They have unwittingly spread a fungus that threatens to bring down the very industry they depend upon for a living. Where a field of paddy once grew, today it is nothing but ashes — and death.

    Plant Protection principal officer Moti Autar has refused to comment on the issue. But sources say the Quarantine Department did by-pass the Plant Protection unit on this issue.

    Instead of passing the new variety grains to the Koronivia Research Station to test for pests and disease, the seeds were released to the farmers for planting.

    The normal procedure for any seed entering the country is that it is referred to Plant Protection at Koronivia. At Koronivia, a sample of the seeds is germinated at the post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility. These seedlings are then assessed for virus, fungus or any kind of disease. Depending on the results, Plant Protection can release the seeds for planting but it is carefully monitored by researchers.

    If they are satisfied after the first harvest, the seeds are then widely distributed for planting.
    In this case, Plant Protection was left out of the picture altogether. On the issue of the rice blast fungus being a local disease, experts say the seeds would have carried the fungus. Under the right conditions, the fungus, which would have been lying dormant in the seeds, would have surfaced as it did in this case.

    Rewa Rice Limited chairman Hari Pal Singh believes the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the damage to rice farms in Dreketi.

    "The Agriculture Ministry is responsible for the introduction of new plants and animals into the country," he said. When the fungus was detected, he said, some 30 tonnes of rice had to be destroyed. Quarantine officers are also trying to destroy the rice husk that are sold to floriculturists.

    Mr Singh warned that the industry was yet to see the long-term effects of the fungus. "This fungal disease can persist in the soil for a long time and can be easily carried by agents like air, water, farm animals, human and farm implements," he said. "So the long term effect of this disease is yet to be realised."

    Experts say the fungus can affect other agricultural produces like sugar cane and vegetables. Since Fiji is dependent on agriculture, any disease or fungal threat to the sector will impact the economy.

    For Mr Singh, the matter of compensation is an issue that should not have to be debated. "Of course, yes. Rewa Rice strongly feels that farmers who suffered from this should be compensated until such time their farms are rehabilitated and this may take as long as three years.

    "For farmers in these areas, rice is the only crop. Their livelihood depends on rice alone. "Rewa Rice Ltd should also be compensated for the rice husk, which is worth about $50,000 and which shall be destroyed."

    "We all, including the farmers, were very excited with the Indonesian technology and all the farmers were willing to plant this improved variety in the off-season."

    His advice to farmers is simple: Don't forget the local variety.

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