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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Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Posted 4:10 PM by Luigi
Surviving the blight: socio-economic consequences of taro leaf blight (TLB) disease in Samoa
Journal of South Pacific Agriculture Vol. 10 No. 1 & 2, pp 1-9.
Professor, Development Studies
Samoa’s staple food taro has disappeared from family meals, ceremonial functions and markets. How can a country cope with a debacle of this magnitude? The Samoan experience has lessons for other small developing island states, although this study was conducted some years back.
A Survey was carried out during 1999 to ascertain the socio-economic impact of the 1993 taro leaf blight disease on the people of Samoa. Using a questionnaire farmers were interviewed in randomly selected village districts in both Upolu and Savaii. Government officials in departments of agriculture, customs, finance and planning as well as commercial farmers, representatives of inter-government organisations and representatives of business were also interviewed.
The devastation of taro crop, a basic staple food had serious consequences for the economy of Samoa, the life of the people, their dietary habits and ceremonial functions. However, because of the country’s diverse primary production base including strength inherent in small holder agriculture, various other opportunities for alternative sources of income, government measures and the people’s resilience and adaptability helped Samoans cope. A potentially life threatening pestilence was out-maneuvered by these factors. Alternative starchy crops normally grown along with taro for food security and animal feed, such as, taamu Alocasia macrorrhiza, taro palagi Xanthosoma sagittifolium, yams Dioscoria alata, breadfruit Artocarpus altilis and bananas Musa spp became more prominent food sources in cultural exchanges and for income. The Samoan experience of successfully meeting the loss of a major food staple provides useful lessons for small island states and developing countries.
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