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).
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Mr William Wigmore
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Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
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Monday, October 23, 2006
Posted 3:27 PM by Luigi
Concern over Malaysian logging in Niue
From tvnz, Oct 23, 2006.
A Malaysian logging company linked to the decimation of the Solomon Islands rainforests has got its sights set on Niue.
The island nation, which relies almost entirely on aid from New Zealand, is planning on going into business with the group.
The Niuan government is allowing a the company to log the rainforest, however no-one told the hundreds of locals who own the land.
One of the Malaysian investors in the deal is Steven Fong Hak who was the general manager of a company called Silvania Products in the Solomon Islands.
Silvania's been condemned by environmental groups as having one of the worst forest practises in the world.
The company had its licence revoked several times in the 1990's for illegal logging.
Fong Hak has recently been dumped from the Niue logging project after falling out with business partner Philip Chung, who agreed to be interviewed by One News on the proviso that his face wasn't shown.
"We are coming here with sincerity, we want to protect the forest, we cut big tree, turn into money, improve the lifestyle of the people," he said.
But Chung also has a reputation in the pacific.
In the 1980's a Solomon Islands High Court found his company Solmac Construction and Timber Ltd had operated without a licence and destroyed a plantation.
Chiung now says he does not recall not having a licence and he is keen to make sure everything is above-board in Niue.
"We want our names to be recorded in the history of Niue to do something good for the country," said Chung.
But many Niueans aren't so sure.
Local logger Harry Bray says there is only one way a foreign company can make a profit from Niue's forest.
"They would just take everything, to be able to do that they would have to take everything and what they didn't take they would destroy in the process of taking the timber that is of size," says Bray.
The logging deal has raised eyebrows internationally.
Aid donors, including New Zealand, asked Niue to think again before going ahead with it.
The Niuan government is now biding its time but to keep the Malaysian investors interested they are offering them fishing licences and tourism ventures.
But logging remains the Malaysians main aim.
"If they do not allow us to invest in that project maybe we have to say bye bye," says Chung.
And saying goodbye will be a big deal for Niue's government.
Instead of the big business investment it was desperately hoping for, the tiny nation will be back to begging for aid.
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