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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Monday, September 11, 2006
Posted 2:35 PM by Luigi
News from PNG
From DIDINET. DIDINET stands for ‘Didiman/Didimeri Network’ or a network for scientists and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector. It aims to network and inform the participants and keep them abreast of issues of common interest. Contributions can be sent to the Editor (email@example.com), PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).
Use your land to grow more coconuts
Farmers should grow more coconuts to boost the coconut industry and take advantage of the huge potential, including the opportunities in downstream processing. People with access to land should take up the challenge to grow coconuts or redevelop rundown coconut blocks and plantations for the sake of the future generation. These were the words of the Acting Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock, Anton Benjamin, during the recent World Coconut Day celebrations in Madang.
When delivering the keynote address on behalf of Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Sasa Zibe, Mr Benjamin also called on farmers to utilize their land for coconut development. He further challenged landowners not to sell land for short term gains.
The two day celebrations which was organised by the Cocoa Coconut Institute and Kokonas Indastri Koporesen saw a range of activities including displays of high value products of coconut, demonstration of direct micro expeller, pollination and seed nut production of coconut.
Mr Benjamin told a large crowd at the Stewart Research Station at Murnas near Madang town that the coconut industry has huge potential which has never been fully realized. He said global market trends and developments in downstream processing presents the industry with numerous opportunities and challenges for growth.
Mr Benjamin said the PNG coconut industry is well placed to immediately tap into the numerous bio-energy opportunities that are now coming on line in the global markets. However, PNG needs to respond immediately in establishing systems and coordinating production systems to maximize benefits from coconut downstream processing products.
He said the Government recognizes the significant role the coconut industry has played in ensuring household and national food security and economic and social well-being, and is supporting current initiatives to promote and encourage downstream processing of coconuts. The Government also encourages partnership among the local communities, the private sector and provincial governments to develop programmes and to mobilize smallholder farmers. Furthermore, the Government has put in place a number of incentives which include funding for commodity roads, reduction in export levies, rural credits and tax incentives.
Mr Benjamin urged the coconut commodity agencies and other stakeholders to develop integrated and multisectoral programmes which must be captured in the National Agriculture Development Plan. The goal is to increase income earning opportunities which will increase net income for farmers depending on coconut as well as cocoa.
Some of the key issues that needed urgent attention include clear guidance as to what the priority value-added products the Government and its partners need to focus on; developing systems to fast-track opportunities into business ventures; developing systems to capitalise on dynamic global market trends; developing win-win packages to attract investors and encourage local partnerships, ownership and participation in income generating activities; align research, development and extension programs to current and future industry and stakeholder needs; and rehabilitate run-down coconut plantations.
Coconuts can save the nation millions of kina by replacing much of the diesel fuel imported for cars, trucks and generators, a rural businessman believes. He has put his money where his mouth is by establishing a village factory to produce coconut oil fit for running diesel engines. He is German-born former volunteer Mathias Horn, who with Buka wife Carol, runs the Buka Metal Fabricators company in Buka town. Mr Horn is not alone, two shipping companies based in Rabaul have been buying coconut oil from the long established Copra Products Ltd mill at Malaguna for the past couple of years and have largely replaced diesel fuel for their ships. Bureau of Statistics figures show that PNG imported 152 million litres of diesel fuel last year at a cost of about K191 million. The petrol pump price for diesel in Port Moresby yesterday was K2.68.6 a litre. Buka coconut diesel is selling at K2 a litre.
Coastal and islands provinces all have ample village plots and plantations of mature coconut trees and could set up similar operations to the Buka one. On present prices, it is realistic to buy copra and produce fuel oil for vehicles, says Mr Horn who was a instructor with the volunteer group German Development Service and was teaching metal fabrication and welding to students in Wapenamanda, Enga Province, and Popondetta back in the 1990s and settled in Buka in 1998. Mathias and Carol heard about the experiments in coconut fuel in Vanuatu and other places. For the past two to three years, he has been running several of his own diesel engine vehicles exclusively on coconut oil. He vows the results are good for his vehicles and for the economy. He showed a truck, a forklift and a car running on the fuel and said he had proved to his own satisfaction that there were no major obstacles to using coconut oil in diesel engines in the tropics.
“We buy copra by bags from village people around Carol’s village, Lontis, and make sure it is dried to the right standard and then put it through the filtering process to get out the impurities,’’ Mr Horn said. He does this through a filtering plant and a series of four tanks where the oil goes through a step-by-step process to render it fit for use in diesel motors. It results in oil for engines, home made oil lamps, chainsaw bar lubrication, and cosmetic oils for use by people on their skin and in their hair. They are making a very high grade cooking oil, which is healthy in terms of weight loss and preventing infections and heart disease.
A sample is with Dr Lohi Matainaho at the University of PNG for further analysis. Now the vehicle used by the Bougainville Administrator Peter Tsiamalil, plus another dozen or so, are run on the Horn family’s coconut oil. Recently it was announced all of the government cars in Vanuatu are to be converted to coconut oil fuel. Mr Horn has a fuel pump in his company yard at Buka and sells the oil to other vehicle owners at a substantial savings compared with the normal diesel. This week, he was selling it for K2 a litre, compared with the retail price of K3.20 for diesel in the town. (Post Courier, August 14, 2006)
Sweet potato workshop report on site
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research is currently funding five research and development projects on sweet potato in Papua New Guinea. A workshop was held in Madang in June with the following objectives:
A report from the workshop has been placed on the website of the Land Management Group at the Australian National University and can be viewed at: http://rspas.anu.edu.au/lmg/index.php As well, nine presentations from the workshop can also be found at this website. Note that the presentations have not been edited and the powerpoint presentations have been converted into a PDF format.If anyone cannot access this website, they can obtain a copy of the workshop report by sending an email to Ms Tracy Harwood (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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