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?



    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Black beetle creates havoc with taro

    By Emil Adams (SPC), in Island Business.

    Taro is a significant source of income for rural families and a lucrative export for the Pacific. It is also an iconic Pacific food. But a shiny black beetle that burrows into taro corms, leaving unsightly holes that lead to rotting, is a serious threat to crops in affected countries. They include Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

    According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) reports that in 2000, Papua New Guinea produced around 332,000 tons of taro of which 30% was damaged by taro beetles with losses of A$45.9 million. In Fiji, the taro industry is worth F$10 million annually with 80% of the taro coming from non-infested areas, mainly Taveuni. However, in 2000, one-third of trial taro plots in infested areas of Fiji suffered beetle damage.

    Researchers make progress

    Concerted efforts by Pacific plant protection specialists to develop a safe and practical control of the beetle have found that two pesticides, Confidor and Bifenthrin, provide the best prospects. The research is being coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) under the Taro Beetle Management Project. The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) with the EU providing funds for research in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and for some activities in Fiji. The University of the South Pacific is also part of the collaboration with the chemistry department carrying out residue analysis and David Hunter of the School of Agriculture providing experimental design and data analysis.

    At a project meeting in Suva in December 2005, the Director of LRD, Aleki Sisifa, noted the successes of the past five years. These have resulted in the project being extended by an extra two years after a review by ACIAR.

    In the next phase, pesticides will be tested at locations in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG and residues will be analysed. Combinations of pesticides and biocontrol agents will also be trialled. Sisifa emphasises that the project’s main goal is to develop an integrated crop management package for use by farmers. A critical part of the project is to identify the best ways of transferring the technology to them.

    Commenting on the research findings, the project coordinator, Sada Lal said, “We’ve been screening pesticides and assessing dosages and application frequencies.

    “Since all pesticides are potentially harmful, we need residue analyses to check whether they’re within acceptable limits.”

    “We’re also looking at biocontrol methods,” he added. “For example, in PNG, Dr John Moxon found that applying the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae with Confidor gave consistently good control. But the fungus is expensive to produce and farmers in the Pacific don’t have the resources to do it.” In Fiji and Vanuatu, there have been trials of alternative treatments that can be used to prevent the build-up of resistance to pesticides by the beetles. This will be an important part of maintaining a control strategy.

    Enlisting public support

    Stopping the movement of the taro beetle is still the best method of containing it. In a campaign targeting travellers to the beetle-free island of Taveuni, billboards, brochures, radio and TV spots have been used to spread the message with a recent survey showing that over 90% of growers were aware of the taro beetle and 80% had learned more about it from the media.

    Genebank critical back-up

    In the past, there have been attempts to take taro planting materials to Taveuni despite a ban by the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture, Sugar and Land Resettlement. The ban also applies to pot plants, soil and manure.

    The main taro variety planted for export on Taveuni is Tausala ni Samoa, but some farmers are keen to grow other varieties. To meet this demand and lessen the likelihood that taro material will be smuggled in, the LRD has established a genebank collection of different taro varieties found on the island at the Coconut Research Centre in Taveuni.

    New taro varieties available in tissue culture at SPC’s Regional Germplasm Centre will also be taken to Taveuni for testing and adding to the collection (plants in tissue culture are disease-free and provide the only acceptable method of moving germplasm across borders).

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    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

    PestNet: For on-line information, advice and pest identification for the Pacific and beyond. Contact: Grahame Jackson.



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