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?



    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Gourmet sweet potato?

    Here's a Press Release by Crop & Food Research New Zealand (19 Jan 2006) sent in by Aroha Te Pareake Mead. This is what she says about it: "It would be nice if the main motive for this collaboration was to increase the production of kumara as a food staple for all, rather than a boutique product for the high-end market. It is boutique market that usually motivates intellectual property assertions by the researchers."

    The unique white-skinned and white-fleshed early Maori kumara are to be studied for their potential as a gourmet food.

    Demand for foods derived from "unaltered" or "pure" plant material that is produced using culturally and environmentally sensitive techniques has prompted research on nine lines of early Maori kumara. These include three lines with the unique white skin and white flesh which were among those brought back from Japan to New Zealand in 1988.

    The Pu Hao Rangi Trust, guardians of the early kumara, have joined with the Tahuri Whenua Inc. (the National Maori Vegetable Growers' Collective), in a joint venture to explore the economic potential of New Zealand's early kumara. Technology New Zealand will fund the two-year research project.

    Chairperson of Pu Hao Rangi, Dell Wihongi, said, "We are delighted to be working with the Tahuri Whenua. We have the heritage kumara and Tahuri Whenua represents the Maori Vegetable Growers Collective which is successfully producing crops for select markets. Just as our fore-bearers found ways to grow this root crop as a food source, we seek to find the current potential of these kumara."

    Chairman of Tahuri Whenua, Nick Roskruge said, "Currently, we are involved in growing and dispersing early varieties of taewa (potato), kaanga (corn), hue and kamokamo. There is an increasing demand for wholesome, natural, regional foods, particularly from top-end diners and the slow food movement. Our early kumara would fit this and, if we can grow enough of it, I think there is potential for export."

    The nine early Maori kumara lines (four pre-European and five post-European) were returned from Japan for safe-keeping to the Pu Hao Rangi Trust. On their return, Crop & Food Research assisted the Trust by removing viruses and Pam Fletcher has maintained the virus-free lines in tissue culture at Lincoln.

    Crop & Food Research agronomists are now working to understand the best growing conditions for the cultivars. Yields and quality during storage will be two key factors examined in the trials.
    Crop & Food Research's Maori Research Leader, Dr Meto Leach said, "Unlike common kumara grown today, little is known about these early cultivars. The research is needed to see how they will survive transplanting and to identify their susceptibility to climate and disease."

    The aim is to identify an early kumara line suitable for the market and to establish a successful production system. Tahuri Whenua and Pu Hao Rangi will work together to get production underway and develop markets.

    The research should be complete by July 2007 and then the knowledge gained will be given to growers who will work to build up production.

    * Comments:


    Maori Party Commends Initiative of the ‘Guardians of the Kumara’

    Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party; 20 January 2006

    The Maori Party today congratulated Te Pu Hao Rangi Trust, guardians of the early kumara, for their joint venture with Tahuri Whenua Inc, the National Maori Vegetable Growers Collective, to explore the economic potential of the early kumara.

    Technology New Zealand is funding a two year project, based on nine lines of early Maori kumara. The unique white-skinned, white-fleshed kumara are being studied to identify a early kumara line suitable for the market.

    “I pay special tribute to the dedication of the kuia, Dell Wihongi [Te Rawawa, Hokianga] who I know will ensure that the intellectual property involved in this research will stay with tangata whenua” stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

    Dell Wihongi was Principal claimant for the WAI 262 claim, the Native Flora and Fauna claim; and is Chairperson of Te Pu Hao Rangi Trust.

    The precedent for securing intellectual property rights has been established internationally, through an agreement with the International Potato Centre (which is part of the United Nations) and the Potato Park owned by the six Aymara/Quechua communities. The Centre signed a binding agreement that they would not assert intellectual property rights over any research results or products.

    “This kind of research is exciting if it has the potential to reduce poverty amongst Maori whanau by encouraging more whanau to grow produce for their own consumption as well as for markets” said Mrs Turia.

    “The Mäori Party welcomes any opportunity to share the benefits of our traditional foods” stated Mrs Turia. “Our hope will be that the outcomes of this research will not just produce food for the high-end boutique market, but will also create affordable food for all”.

    “The Maori Party also commends the initiative of Tahuri Whenua in their endeavours to produce taewa (potato), kaanga (corn), hue and kamokamo.

    “Re-introducing traditional staple foods such as these early kumara into whanau diets, can also have great promise in improving Maori health” said Mrs Turia.

    Mrs Turia spoke about the cultivation of the early kumara in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    “These issues are uppermost in our minds with the United Nations meeting next week in Spain expected to discuss, again, the contentious issues around the so-called ‘Terminator Technology’.

    Terminator (or GURTS - Genetic Use Restriction Technology) is a technology of genetic engineering that has been designed by the multi-national seed industry to render seeds sterile at harvest - thus forcing farmers to return to corporations to buy fresh seeds rather than saving and reusing their own.

    “The Maori Party is aware that the multi-national seed companies have often campaigned long and hard to convince indigenous people that they have the answer to crop failure with the creation of their hybrid plants, when in fact crop failure is often the result of deforestation, chemical pollution and the ozone layer effect”.

    “The Maori Party will be writing to the Government to encourage them to maintain the moratorium against Terminator Technology” stated Mrs Turia.

    “Maori organic food producers, small-holder farmers, and tangata whenua will be amongst other communities campaigning against genetic use restriction technologies” said Mrs Turia.

    “We will be keeping a close eye on the Government delegates attending the Convention of Biological Diversity [CBD] and Agricultural Biological Diversity [ABD] meetings to protect traditional knowledge and food security, through opposing terminator technology”.
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