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
Interested in GIS?
Monday, October 16, 2006
Posted 3:34 PM by Luigi
PGR news from DIDINET, PNG: PARCIP, local foods, noni
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). The following are some extracts from the latest newsletter. Contact the Editor if you want to receive the whole issue.
PARCIP gets HOAFS support
The Pacific Regional Crops Improvement Program (PARCIP) proposed by the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) has been endorsed and supported fully by Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) at their second conference in Nadi, Fiji, last month. The endorsement has been made on the basis of an advanced PARCIP proposal presented at the conference by NARI Director General Dr Raghunath Ghodake.
PARCIP is aimed at improving and utilising genetic production potential of staple crops common in the Pacific region by using conventional breeding and advanced methods of crop improvement (biotechnology) with a view to addressing food security, improved livelihoods and eventually leading towards overall prosperity in the region. The programme covers evaluation, introductions, selection, and genetic improvement of crops not only to increase productivity and quality per unit of resources but also to address pest and diseases, nutritional improvement, processing requirements, product diversification, tolerance to droughts and frosts, and appropriateness to atoll environments. Besides, it will help sharing of enhanced genetic resources and developing expertise and facilities in the region. Key crops selected for inclusion are abika, banana, sweet potato, taro, yams/alocasia (giant taro), breadfruit, cassava and cytosperma (swamp taro).
The HOAFS support paves way for the development of a regional cooperation among PICTs (Pacific Islands Countries and Territories) and seeks PNG Government requested technical co-operation programme support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation. NARI is already in the process of developing and implementing some of the crop improvement activities relevant to PNG.
NESTLE eyes local food resources in product development
A food manufacturer in the Morobe province is keen to use locally available food resources in product development. Nestle (PNG) is interested in incorporating flour from root and tuber crops, vegetables, cereals, legume grains and nuts into its products to develop value added foods like noodles, crackers, snacks and other products.
This follows a visit to its Lae factory by officials from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) recently for a possible collaboration. NARI’s visit was to discuss issues on food processing and product development using locally available food resources and establish a partnership so that NARI can work with the industry to address research and development issues in postharvest, especially food processing, product development and value addition.
Nestle also indicated that there are possibilities of developing chips, crisps, candies and sweets from root and tuber crops as well as frozen pieces and shreds from vegetables such as carrots.
The international food producer is looking at using locally available raw materials, especially those with flour and starch in their products. At the moment, all of its dried flour and starch are imported from overseas. The initiative, when it comes into effect, will also substitute expensive imports, reduce costs, benefit smallholder farmers by creating markets and foster the development of small cottage industries in PNG.
According to Nestle, although fresh root and tuber crops like sweet potato can give flour, they need to be processed into dried flour before being used. Similarly, other raw materials need processing - taro (dried starch) and sago (dried powder).
Both organisations agreed to collaborate and work in partnership. A formal understanding will be established between the two organisations for co-operation in research; training; and use and sharing of facilities, resources, expertise and information. NARI has compiled a list of possible products that can be developed from various crops under its microscope.
Noni - an emerging cash crop for rural PNG
Noni (scientifically called Morinda citrifolia) is an important native plant species of Papua New Guinea with broad spectrum of medicinal properties and uses. The species is widely distributed throughout the Pacific, including South-east Asia and parts of India, with a long-standing medicinal history. Noni has been administered in diverse manners to cure diseases and physiological disorders.
The root extract was taken to relieve hypertension, and combined with coconut oil to heal skin infections. The leaves were chewed and applied as poultice for inflammation, rheumatism, boils and gastric ulcer. They were also heated and placed on abdomen in cases of swollen spleen, liver diseases and internal haemorrhages. The ripe fruits were consumed either raw or cooked to cure sore throat or stabilise stomach upsets. The traditional uses vary from place to place. In the contemporary times, Noni products have shown to help ailments such as high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, arthritis, gastric ulcers, sprains, injuries, mental depression, senility, poor digestion, drug addiction, and pain. It has thus become an important medicinal plant for commerce in the recent decade for its clinical efficacy.
Increase in commercial interest for this plant species has resulted in the establishment of plantations in diverse places throughout the Pacific. In PNG, prospective individuals have gone into establishing plantations within the past five to ten years. While meeting the local needs, a few individuals have begun exporting Noni juice to markets abroad.
As a boost to this emerging industry, the Pacific Island Noni Association (PINA) was formed in late 2004 with member companies scattered across 10 Pacific Island countries including PNG. PINA primarily functions to assist in promoting Pacific noni as the premium product in the growing global noni market. With PINA facilitating, export markets have been established in the United Kingdom and European Union member states. Several other overseas investors, including japan, have shown interest for PNG.
Consequently, discussions on research and development for noni have picked up in premiere research institutions in PNG. Though currently labelled as an under-utilised species, with recognition and needed support from the government and relevant authorities, rural farmers of PNG can tap into this million dollar industry.
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