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
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Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Posted 1:44 PM by Luigi
Cicia earns from coconut
Fiji Times, October 11, 2005.
The Island of Cicia lies on the northernmost part of the Lau Group and has five villages - Tarukua, Natokalau, Lomati, Mabula and Naceva. Tarukua is the main port of entry with a jetty, post office and a hospital facility and is home to about 50 families.
The whole island is known for its extensive groves of coconut palms around the coasts which the islanders make good use of. Islanders have been vigilant in making coconut artefacts, but they are some of the best farmers in the Lau Group.
One of the most outstanding farmers is none other than Pita Rarasea of Mabula Village which is on the other side of the island from where Tarukua Village is situated. The 42-year-old vivacious farmer has been farming for the past 22 years and this is not a chore for him, but has become a hobby that he has fallen in love with.
If one takes time to carefully think about farming, first thing that would come to mind is the hot sun and secondly the thought of working in an isolated place is just too much to handle. But for Pita, he cannot wait to leave home to get to the farm as this is the only time that he can unwind and feel the fresh sea breeze against his neck.
"Farming for me is important because that is how I feed my family and the sight of the plants growing right under your very eyes is just exhilarating," he explained.
Pita has been planting on 15 square chains of land and plants about anything and everything. "I plant uvi, vudi, cassava, dalo, kumala, tivoli and green leafy vegetables," he smiled. Being brought up in the village, Pita believes that advice and continuous words of encouragement from his parents have seen him through the rough patches in life.
"To be a man is to be able to grow your own food and be able to support your family so that is the stand that I took from a young age and still doing today," smiled Pita.
He says that his efforts into his farm is because he knows that it will eventually end up on his table for meals, so he has never been more dedicated at farming than ever before. With seven children, Pita has managed to send them to school but like any other parent, education costs are increasing by the year.
Since farming on the island cannot reach a suitable market in time, Pita like many other islanders have been banking on their copra business to see them through the hard times.
"The island is filled with coconuts galore and this is probably the main source of income for the islanders as most of us dry copra to make a bit of money for the children's sake," he explained.
The feeling of achieving something in life is high among the villagers of Mabula thus the birth of a co-operative nine years ago which is being operated by the youths of the village.
"This is also the place where we sell our copra to and they sell to the Punjas Company so it has been quite easy for us."
Shipping services to the island visits twice a month which is okay for the islanders but according to Pita, there are high hopes of getting more consistent services.
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