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, July 13, 2006

    Coconut and health

    VERENAISI RAICOLA, Fiji Times, Friday, July 14, 2006

    THERE is a misconception that coconut is unhealthy.

    The encouraging news is that it is not.

    Instead, coconuts have many health benefits and believe it or not, prevents many lifestyle diseases.

    Our ancestors not so long ago used every part of the coconut tree from the top of the leaf to the bottom of the tree.

    Coconut oil, flesh, milk and other products have been staple diets of our people.

    But since people became more conscious of their health, coconut oil has been blindly considered unhealthy.

    That is why many people associate coconut oil and milk with heart diseases.

    But the perception must now change thanks to a study conducted by Doctor Bruce Fife who was engaged by the Coconut Industry Development Authority to speak on coconuts and its advantages in Fiji.

    Today, Dr Bruce is the world's leading expert on coconut.

    He is the director of the Coconut Research Centre, a non-profit organisation dedicated to educating the public and the scientific community on the nutritional and health benefits of coconut.

    Dr Bruce said many thought that coconut oil was unhealthy and promoted heart diseases but it was a wrong perception.

    "In fact, unsaturated coconut oil is good for the body. Doctors do not know the difference because they are not nutritionists.

    "But there is a difference. The fat in coconut oil is known as medium chain fatty acid.

    "Other oils in food are made up of a long chain of fatty acids so it really has a size difference," he said.

    Dr Bruce said the body processed fats differently depending on size.

    "They digest differently, grow in the body differently and have different effects on blood flow," he said.

    Dr Bruce, who used to believe that coconut oil was harmful saturated fat, changed his mind after researching coconut oil.

    "I could not find anything negative about coconut oil.

    "Information I found showed coconut oil protected against heart diseases and this is natural coconut oil, not chemically altered."

    Dr Bruce said a remarkable aspect was that coconut oil had the ability to kill diseases causing bacteria, virus and fungus.

    "The medium chain fatty acid in coconut oil is identical to the fatty acid in breast milk.

    "So coconut oil and breast milk are similar because they contain the same fat.

    "That is the primary reason breast milk protects babies from infectious diseases because of fatty acid. Coconut oil contains the same fatty acid that kills bacteria which causes throat infection, ear infection, sinus infection, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, fungus that cause ringworm and athlete's foot.

    "It also kills virus that causes influenza, measles, herpes, hepatitis C and kills HIV.

    Doctor Bruce said this was confirmed at a clinical study in the Philippines where HIV patients were given three and a half tablespoons of coconut oil a day without any other treatment.

    "In three months they were showing signs of recovery so this was the first stage that showed that coconut oil had a antiviral effect in human beings.

    "That is why there is a multi-national study in Africa right now using coconut oil as a treatment for HIV but it would be a couple of years before there are results on that," he said.

    Dr Bruce said coconut oil prevented heart diseases, dissolved kidney stones, controlled diabetes, enhanced the immune system, prevents heart disease, increases the metabolism rate and loses excessive body fat, contrary to our beliefs.

    He recommended people to use coconut oil in their everyday cooking because it is heat stable.

    "The nut can be eaten raw and the cream is excellent," he said.

    Coconut Industry development Authority chairman Ken Roberts said more people needed to be aware of the potential benefits of planting more coconuts.

    "More important, we would have more healthy people and we need not worry so much about exporting coconuts as we would end up eating all ourselves," Mr Roberts said.

    He boasts that after having virgin coconut oil scoops for the past couple of months he has managed to lose five kilograms.

    "Virgin coconut oil is different because it is pure with the least amount of mechanical processing-similar to what our grandmothers made," he said.

    Mr Roberts said coconut oil gave him a feeling of fullness and that was why he did not eat much but managed to lose weight painlessly.

    His message to Fiji is: "Plant more coconuts it is healthy and has been used for centuries without harmful effects try it."

    Organic Pacific Ltd director Peni Drodrolagi who manages an indigenous company that produces cold-pressed virgin coconut oil.

    The processed coconut oil will soon be available in local supermarkets and for export.

    Mr Drodrolagi said Fijians needed to be more aggressive in doing business to succeed.

    Mr Drodrolagi, a former general manager for Shell, said people undermined coconuts not knowing it had many values.

    He left a highly paid job to work with rural village communities to produce coconut oil.

    "Fiji Niu oil is unrefined and made from hand- picked coconuts through direct micro expelling technology designed specifically for coconuts.

    "As a consequence technology produces natural coconut oil of vastly superior quality with no chemicals used to produce the product."

    Mr Drodrolagi said he preferred to set up the coconut business instead of joining politics because he wanted to give more back to the community.

    "I have two daughters who have a passion for agriculture and who are in the business.

    "That is why I prefer to work and operate a family-based business that helps villages in Taveuni and Moala in the Lau group.

    "This business is great but the biggest obstacle is finding the starting point," said Mr Drodrolagi.

    "That is why it is a real struggle for Fijians to start a business, unlike the Gujeratis who had great business networking skills.

    "We are at a disadvantage because unlike the Gujeratis who run family businesses, we start on our own without proper financial channels to help us progress further in this arena."

    Mr Drodrolagi said he had no regret establishing the family business because in eight weeks he is able to spend one week in Moala or Taveuni with his relatives who produce virgin coconut oil.

    "Our coconut oil is produced in a totally different way we take small scale processing to the nuts rather than taking the nuts in debased forms to a large scale processor.

    "We concentrate on small and manageable, daily batches and this allow us to produce oil on average, within one to two hours of opening the coconuts."

    He said the process depended on simple, easily learned skills rather than sophisticated equipment.

    "This makes it ideal for rural communities, creating regular, meaningful employment for the entire villages.

    "Now we know why the coconut tree is sometimes called the tree of life.

    "It meets so many basic needs including food and can be used to make shelter and fuel.

    "All these are some of the reasons why people should see the humble coconut in a different way," said Dr Bruce the coconut expert.

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