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, January 30, 2006

    A breadfruit celebration in Pohnpei?

    The exchange reproduced below may be interesting to those involved in the promotion and conservation of local crop varieties, particularly breadfruit but also others……


    Greetings Ms. Ragone. I am contacting you from Pohnpei. One of the information releases that we received from Luigi Guarino of SPC recently has once again kicked off interest in the local promotion of Breadfruit. The particular article mentioned the collection of breadfruit recipies and a Breadfruit celebration held in Hawaii. I tossed out the ideaof doing something similar here in Pohnpei. We have a very active NGO called the Island Food Community of Pohnpei, headed by Dr. Lois Engleberger and supported by the local Division of Agriculture, the Extensioon service and many other local groups. This group is starting to consider having some sort of breadfruit street festival to promote the use of more breadfruit in our diets. This would likely happen during the next major breadfruit season in July-September 2006. We read that there were over one hundred recipies developed and displayed at the Hawaii event. Would it be possible to get copies of those recipes? If this is possible, please let me know. I will be in Hawaii in mid-January and might be able to arrange to meet with you at tha ttime. I have received a number of requests for varieties of breadfruit that produces year-round. The latest was from Chuuk which I thought was the Breadfruit capital of the Pacific. I know that some of the varieties were held at a 'Breadfruit Garden' in Kosrae up until a few months ago. Unfortunately they were cut down and although some are regrowing, I doubt that any identification information is available. Mary Taylor of SPC and I discussed the possibility of importing tissue culture of the varieties you identified as year-round producing in Hawaii. I believe the feeling is to have them processed through the SPC lab in Fiji before we import them to Pohnpei. This may be for virus indexing and quarantine restrictions. Would it be possible to arrange such a
    transfer with you? Regards, Jim Currie


    Dear Jim,

    My apologies for taking so long to reply to your email. I had hoped to be in Pohnpei this past week to participate in the Pohnpei Agriculture Station conservation workshop, but was not able to attend. Are you still planning a trip to Hawaii in January, or did I miss you? I'll be working at Kahanu Garden in Hana, Maui, where the breadfruit collection is located, January 31-February 2, and it would be great if you could visit there.

    It would be wonderful to have a breadfruit festival in Pohnpei during rahk and I will be happy to help you, Lois, Adelino, and others with this in any way, including sharing some of the recipes. We hold the breadfruit cookoff in Hana each fall as part of the Aloha Week Festivities, this event brings the community out for a parade, music, food booths, etc. Hana is a small community of about 1200, and I think you could have a nice festival in Kolonia?

    I can send you our signup sheets, informational materials, etc., to give you an idea of how we organized our cookoff and did the judging. We asked local businesses to contribute prizes, either cash and/or services or products. For example, the local resort hotel donated a room for 2 nights. Because Hana is a poor community, we found that awarding prizes encouraged people to enter the contest. That and the recognition for having a winning recipe!

    There were four categories:
    1. appetizers
    2. soups & salads
    3. main dishes/entrees
    4. desserts

    We gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes in each category, as well as a grand prize (the best of the best), and a prize for best presentation. The latter prize was to encourage people to present the dish in a beautiful way. I can email you some pictures to give you an idea of how creative people were.

    We asked participants to sign up for the contest, and to provide a written recipe with the cooked dish. The garden provided fresh fruits from 2-3 different varieties from the breadfruit collection to any of the participants who wanted fruit. Some people used fruit from their own trees. The day of the cookoff, participants had to bring their dish by a certain time; each dish was given an identifying number so the judges wouldn't be biased by knowing the person who cooked the dish. A panel of judges (5) sampled each dish and rated them. This worked because we had 20-25 different dishes each time. If there are more entries, you may need more judges, and split them up by category, e.g., judges just for the desserts. An odd number of judges is critical so there aren't any ties!

    We then awarded the prizes and served up small samples of the dishes to people at the festival for a small fee (e.g., three samples for $2.00). The money helped defray the cost of plates, utensils, etc. Everyone donated their time to help with the event.

    A couple of cooks entered the contest and we thought it would be a good idea to have a separate category just for chefs, and that might be a possibility in Pohnpei, with so many different restaurants.

    As to breadfruit that fruit year round, there is no one variety that fruits continuously, but it is possible to have an extended season by planting several different varieties. I visited Chuuk last February and was astonished to see the loss of varieties since I was last there in 1987. I think it critical that the FSM conduct a systematic survey of breadfruit diversity to determine how many varieties of breadfruit there are, and identify which ones are rare or at risk, and develop an appropriate conservation strategy for those. Either by planting them in local gardens/villages in each district or in a regional breadfruit conservation collection. We've done a similar project in Samoa and an inventory could readily be done in the FSM. Adelino and I spoke about this when I visited Pohnpei in January 2005.

    The track record for breadfruit collections in the Pacific is a very poor one, because of lack of resources and staff to care for the trees. There was a nice breadfruit collection on Kosrae. When I visited it in 1987 there were about 30 trees, all maintained, and some even had identifying labels. I've been to the collection several times since then and identified a few of the trees closest to the building, but the ones on the hillside are unknowns. Most were neglected and smothered with vines. Collections in Samoa and Tahiti have suffered the same fate. There is even a breadfruit collection on Pohnpei on the grounds of the former agriculture station. It was established by TTPI agriculturists in the 1970s and consists of varieties from Chuuk and Tahiti and maybe Pohnpei. Some of the trees have been cut down over the years. Adelino and I were unsuccessful in finding any records for this collection to identify the varieties, but I was able to ID two Tahitian varieties.

    I think that it is critical to first inventory the existing breadfruit varieties in the FSM, which truly is a center of diversity, before introducing new varieties. After all, local varieties supported the islanders there for a 2-3000 years. Of course, we will be willing to provide varieties from our tissue culture project, but it would be unfortunate to replace proven, local varieties with a few introduced ones.

    I am working both with the RGC in Fiji and the University of British Columbia on tissue culture projects and we are also going to look at salinity tolerance of different varieties at UBC. We're not yet ready to start distributing varieties.

    Look forward to hearing from you all and continuing this discussion.

    Regards, Diane

    Diane Ragone


    Kaselehlie from Pohnpei and thank you for your reply to Jim's inquiry regarding possibility of planning a breadfruit festival in Pohnpei for promotion purposes. I think your respond is never too late, you provided useful guidelines in your e-mail. I trust Jim, Lois, others and I in Pohnpei would agree to pursue and plan the first breadfruit festival in Pohnpei the upcoming season, starting April or May this year. Please go-ahead and share with us the information you have that could help us in planning and other possible help from you.

    I am also still interested to work on conservation strategy of Pohnpei breadfruit varieties. It is also a practice for Pohnpeian farmers to grow as many varieties to connect or prolong harvesting season. Thus, perhaps some farmers may be willing to cooperate and maintain collection of different varieties in their own lands. This approach may be cost and use effective, please comment.



    Dear friends

    I think an “on-farm” strategy for breadfruit conservation could be quite successful in Pohnpei due to existing farmer practices. What would be needed, however, is a central record of where to find the different varieties around the country and also some sort of agreement on access. It would not be so interesting to know where the different varieties are if the farmers involved refuse to share them with others (according to defined rules and for defined purposes).



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