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?



    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Exotic history of a tropical treat

    Haleakala Times
    March 29, 2006

    Many of us enjoy bananas as a breakfast treat or snack throughout the day. For mainlanders, moving to Maui sometimes involves becoming familiar with new varieties, such as the 'apple' banana or cuban red.

    But how many of us are familiar with the banana's history as a foodstuff, or the details of its life cycle?

    Sonny Fly, 33, an organic farmworker from Huelo, was familiar with much more. "Bananas are grown from keiki, not from seed. The seeds aren't viable that I know of," says Fly. "The tiny black dots in the middle of bananas are the seeds."

    Fly admits that he enjoys bananas of the 'apple' and 'silk fig' varieties. He encourages consumers and farmers alike to choose rarer varieties of bananas for their purposes.

    "It's important to support local growers with less common banana crops. Since they can't be cross-pollinated, farming rarer varieties of bananas helps the species as well as increasing the selection," says Fly.

    He also says that commercially-grown varieties such as Chiquita are not only boring, but vulnerable to disease and climate change. "The farms in Latin America and Africa aren't very careful with the product. It's better to support the propagation of old Hawaiian strains," says Fly.

    According to the University of Hawaii-Manoa Department of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources(CTAHR) web index The Farmer's Bookshelf (http://www.blogger.com/www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/fb/index.html), there are five major cultivars of banana currently grown.

    Brazilian or apple and Chinese (Dwarf Cavendish) bananas were introduced to the islands in 1855 from Tahiti. Bluefields or Gros Michel bananas were brought from Nicaragua in 1904. The ever-present Williams(Giant Cavendish) and Cocos(Dwarf Bluefields) were also brought over in 1953 courtesy of the CTAHR. Philippine Lakatan bananas arrived on the islands in 1958. The oldest cultivar present in Hawaii is represented by the Hamakua (False Lakatan) and Valery (Robusta), which have been present here for so long that no date is given for their arrival.

    Despite the diversity and history of banana proliferation here on the islands, Hawaii does not classify as a self-sufficient banana producer among the 50 states. At current average production levels yielding 10,200 pounds per acre, the state still needs 1,058 more acres of crops for self-sufficiency, according to the CTAHR website.

    The English word 'banana' actually comes from the Guinea moniker banema. Although cultivated since ancient times, yellow bananas were virtually unheard of until discovered to be sweet and tasty in their raw state by Jamaican plantation owner Jean Francois Poujot in 1836.

    Before that, green and red were the standard colors of ripe bananas and they were never eaten raw but rather cooked in a variety of ways.

    In terms of botany, banana plants aren't trees at all, but instead a perennial herb. The stalk dies after fruiting, but other shoots spring from the same source, harvestable approximately one year later. Banana plants are classified as a berry and distant relatives to ginger, turmeric and cardamom. Crops can give fruit for around a century, but current practices involve replanting every 10-25 years.

    Nutritionally, bananas boast an amazing plethora of characteristics.

    They contain the sugars fructose, sucrose and glucose wrapped up with a dose of fiber. Tryptophan (the sleep-inducing element in turkey) is present in bananas, becoming seratonin in the brain and reducing depression in banana eaters. B-vitamins, iron and potassium are also found in bananas, good for a number of ailments. They are reputed to help mitigate anemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, heartburn, ulcers and hangovers, as well as promote learning and memory.

    Bananas are a worldwide culinary phenomenon, finding their way into both sweet and savory dishes from all parts of the globe. In the Western Hemisphere, we're used to bananas as a stand alone snack, as well as in smoothies, cereals, breads, cakes and other baked goods.

    Latin American and Caribbean cuisines give them a savory twist by grilling or frying, served as a stand alone entree or side dish. They are also known to use the leaves for cooking purposes, as are Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and other Oriental cuisines.

    In Thailand, bananas are popularly served coated in sesame seeds and either barbequed or deep fried. In Malabar, India banana is made into rolls, stuffed with scrambled egg and deep fried. Very much the colonial food, natives of Mauritius are known to enjoy banana fritters and tarts.

    So as Mauians enjoy bananas regularly during the day or as an occasional treat, they are urged to remember the elaborate facts about one of our most universal fruits.

    Devon Harlan
    Kipahulu 'Ohana
    PO Box 454, Hana, HI 96713
    Fax 248-8802

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