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
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Saturday, November 05, 2005
Posted 4:49 PM by Luigi
Knowledge and expertise of ni-Vanuatu food processor draws interest in Solomons
From Port Vila Presse Online.
By Compiled by Evelyne ToaPosted Tuesday, November 1, 2005
The owner of the famous Kava Store, Charles Long Wah, first kava exporter in Vanuatu, assisted Solomons people to turn a new page in the field of food processing during a recent training workshop in Honiara.
In the Solomon Star newspaper, Mr Long Wah explained "When we say food processing and value adding, it means that from our raw produce, for example pineapple, we can sell it at $10 at the market, but when we process it into pineapple jam, we can sell the jam for $12 to $15 which means we are adding value when we process this raw product (pineapple) into something else – another product."
"We can also dry the fruits and preserve them to be used later during their off-season or during times of disaster.
And according to food processor Long Wah, "you don't have to be well educated to process food and add value to it. It is just the matter of knowing the method and the instructions."
Mr Long Wah is part of a team-led by the University of South Pacific's Institute for Research Extension and Training in Agriculture (IRETA), director Mohammed Umar, who ran a week-long training session last week for participants around the South Pacific region including Solomon Islanders in Honiara.
The training workshop for members of the public, was officially opened by the Solomons minister of agriculture and livestock, Enele Kwanairara with about 20 participants, most of whom knew nothing about food processing and value adding.
However, when Solomon Star visited the participants on the first day, on the table were their displays of pawpaw jam, mango pickles, dried banana, chilli pickles, pineapple syrup and candies made from coconut, peanuts, and terminalia, ngali nuts.
These items were made by the participants throughout the week, and instead of the usual 20 participants they found that the number had increased as interested locals and Pacific islanders from Honiara joined during the week.
Director Umar said he was pleased with the turnout of participants because the idea behind such training was to encourage locals to venture into such business opportunities.
"My team is here only to provide training. It is up to the women and men participating to decide whether or not they will continue producing what they have learned", Umar stated.
And for most of the participants, continuing is what they will be doing.One, Eghi Carter said she would ensure she continues making jam, pickles, candies and such things.
"After this workshop I will make more of these local crops, sitting with my products in the market and selling them to passers-by, to know if there is a healthy market for what I make," Eghi Carter said.
For other participants, too, the training was immensely helpful. Lensa Magiza excitedly went into detail as to how from 12 paw paws bought from the central market she would make about 31 jars of pawpaw jam. "In the shops we find these jams are selling for about $18, but for us, if we sell them at that price or cheaper, we can still make a good profit," Magiza stated.
A Samoan participant Fuapepe Rimoni, who is working under the Ministry of Agriculture in Samoa, stated that her mission after the completion of the workshop would be writing a report and visiting non government organisations, women's groups and church groups to teach them skills she learned from Charlot and the workshop. "It will be interesting to see what others can come up with after training in food processing and value adding," Rimoni said.
However, Long Wah said they must not think about export. If there is a demand in the local market and you can keep up with it, only then you can start thinking of exporting your products, but not now." Long Wah is one of the leading producers of kava in Vanuatu together with about 75 other local Vanuatu products. "But I am still trying to keep up with the demand in the local market," the food expert said.
"This means more training at the local level and also with more processed products involved.
We will be supplying growers with information on how to make their expected products and give information on basic hygiene and capacity building has to happen at the local level," Uman said. At the same time, there has to be funding to start locals off.
"It should not be a one off thing but something which the private sector such as NGO's and women's groups and so on, can continue with because there are lots of crops to be processed and I'm not talking only for Solomon islands but the Pacific," the director said.
Long Wah was feted in song and dance after his workshop, and is looking forward to more workshops in the coming weeks and months in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
He leaves this weekend for a week in Australia before going next week to Amsterdam in Nertherlands.
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