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, January 29, 2006

    Diabetes and local foods

    From Dr Lex Thomson, SPRIG Project Team Leader.

    Dear friends,

    Thank you for all of the interesting e-mails in recent months and the outstanding efforts being made to promote local foods in Micronesia. Well done to all concerned !!!

    My mother has Type 2 diabetes and I have a keen interest in the subject of nutrition/lifestyle and how it impacts onset of diabetes.

    I would like to draw to your attention the work of Dr Jenny Brand-Miller and her co-workers on glycaemic index. In simple terms glycaemic index refers to the rate at which blood sugar level is elevated after eating a meal containing carbohydrates.

    Low glycaemic index foods are recommended for people at risk of diabetes and it is becoming increasingly common for low GI foods here in Australia supermarkets to be labeled as such. Jenny and her co-workers have now published several useful books on the subject.

    Incorporating a diversity of local foods including high fibre sources will evidently provide a healthy, balanced nutrition and lower GI.

    We also need good research to identify low GI carbohydrate Pacific islands root crops varieties in much the same way as Lois Englberger and co-workers have identified high carotenoid/Vitamin A precursors types of banana (Karat) and pandanus (tearabukitaba, tekaureiko). Some work done in the Caribbean indicated that Xanthosoma taro may have lower GI than other root crops.

    There are several things that we can do to improve nutrition, reduce the GI of our meals and give more long lasting energy after eating a meal .

    These include:

    1. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar onto fish, salads etc…this reduces the GI of such meals.
    2. Incorporate low GI foods into meals. Pulses, i.e. beans, lentils (including baked beans) etc are low GI and recommended.
    3. Don’t overcook foods – for example pasta (spaghetti and alike) should be cooked to what Italians call al dente…still fairly firm in texture to bite…overcooking pasta raises its GI.
    4. Rice is high in GI and not generally recommended! However there are some lower GI types of rice, for example Basmati rice has a different type of starch and is converted to glucose much less quickly (than many other types of rice) …However, I expect it is difficult and/or much more expensive to buy Basmati rice in northern Pacific (but is becoming common on supermarket shelves in Fiji).
    5. Eat smaller meals…more often.

    And of course reduce intake of saturated fats, alcohol and so on…

    With best wishes,

    Lex Thomson
    SPRIG Project Team Leader

    * Comments:

    Dear Lex,

    Thank you so much for your email on glycaemic index and introducing this to our email participants. This is so important, as you point out!

    We have entered into discussion with Dr. Anne Perera from the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research Limited and we are hoping to carry out some research first on phytochemical and antioxidant content of some FSM foods, and hopefully we can also look into fiber and possibly glycaemic index at some time for local food crops.

    Also I would like to mention that we have screened over 30 varieties of giant swamp taro for carotenoid and mineral content and 10 varieties of breadfruit for carotenoids.

    The findings are exciting!

    For example, there are yellow-fleshed varieties of giant swamp taro (Simihden, Mwahng Tekatek, Pwiliet in Pohnpei; Yubekmang, Bolabei in Palau, Adbuweg and Teggur in Yap and others). We are sharing about these in a visual way via photographs and cards.

    Vili Iese has shared with us also about how he has been communicating this concept of carotenoid-rich giant swamp taro with farmers in Tuvalu!

    A number of Micronesian giant swamp taro varieties are also rich in iron, zinc, and calcium.

    Iron and zinc are essential for building strong blood. Anemia (weak blood) greatly affects productivity and cognitive development, among other health problems. so we very much want to share more about the giant swamp taro varieties rich in these essential minerals!!

    Again Lex, thank you for sharing this message!!
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    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

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