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, November 30, 2006

    Molokai Taro Field Day

    From The Molokai Dispatch.

    For the last 20 years or so the Maui Community College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service on Molokai conducts a Taro Field Day to provide kalo growers and enthusiasts with an opportunity to gain access to some of the rarest native Hawaiian kalo varieties. Thanks to people like Dr Ramon Dela Pena on Kauai and our resident kalo expert Harry “Cowboy” Ostuka the varieties have survived.

    This year the kalo day is Saturday, Dece. 2 from 9:00 a.m. - noon at Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm located on the grounds of Maui Community College Farm. The day includes discussions on kalo varieties, new concepts for feeding field crops and tastings of various kalo varieties. There will be limited amount of kalo huli, (planting material) of more than 50 native Hawaiian kalo varieties to start home planting. Those who want planting material will need to bring their own cutting tools, ties and labeling pens, ribbon or tags.

    In Hawaii, taro (kalo) is much more than a tomato or bean plant. To a nutritionist kalo is an excellent source of carbohydrates and Vitamins A, B and C. To kalo farmers it contributes to the economic security for their families. To water fowl kalo lo`i is a habitat for resting, feeding and reproducing. Kalo also has a special place in Hawaiian culture because of the mythology of the procreation of man. No other plant in Hawaii can claim such recognition.

    Kalo plants do not produce seeds can be preserved for a long time, making kalo very vulnerable to extinction. As poi making became commercialized, only selected varieties such as Lehua Maoli were produced to maintain poi consistency. This increased the extinction pressure on other varieties that at one time were favorites and consumed by native Hawaiians.

    Many of the varieties have been forgotten. For each generation the varieties must be propagated from vegetative planting material, called huli, taken from the parent plant.
    Today we have less than 80 of the 300 or so varieties native Hawaiians developed and cultivated.

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    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    Road map for Fiji agriculture

    Fiji Times, November 21, 2006.

    Agriculture Minister Gyani Nand believes a road map prepared for agriculture will see tremendous development of the sector in the next ten years.

    Mr Nand said the ministry was now focusing on import substitution, food security, facilitation of export of agricultural products and promotion of investment.

    Speaking during a Field Day at Nadi he said these major policy areas would be driven by various programmes like the Alternative Livelihood Project the Sugar Reform National Adaptation Strategy and the Rural and Outer Islands Project.

    Mr Nand said that there were great opportunities for agro-processing, tourism- agricultural linkages, import substitution, horticulture, niche export crops, floriculture and a strong subsistence sector.

    "We must take up these opportunities as a challenge to drive the agriculture sector forward," Mr. Nand said while speaking to about 400 farmers, exporters and other agriculturalists.

    "Vegetables, fruits, root crops, pulses and spices will continue to be promoted in the country, though priority commodities will depend on market demand," he said.

    He said that production of pulses including cowpeas, pigeon peas, urd and mung, that were commercially grown in Fiji in the late 70s have gradually decreased leading to a $4 million import last year.

    But Mr Nand said production has picked up once again and 35 tonnes were exported to New Zealand while two tonnes of frozen green seeds were exported to Australia and USA last year.

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    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Tea in Hawaii

    Pacific Business News (Honolulu), by Howard Dicus.

    Hawaii farmers want to grow more specialty products that command premium prices the way Kona coffee does, and the next big thing could be tea.

    The University of Hawaii is developing a signature tea that Hawaii can market the way it markets its speciality coffees, according to Andrew Hashimoto, dean of the UH School of Tropical Agriculture.

    "It's already growing in our experimental station," he said. "We want something that is unique to Hawaii. Something comparable to Kona coffee that cannot be duplicated elsewhere."

    Hashimoto said research is also being done on blueberries that could be promising for Hawaii. Many of the 80 faculty members at the agriculture college are working on such speciality products, goods that can command prices high enough to cover the higher costs Hawaii farmers pay for land, shipping, electricity and water.

    "We're in a position where we have to have a product that people are willing to pay higher price for," said Andrew Hashimoto. "Then competition tries to do the same thing for a lower price. So you always have to be ahead of that market."

    Hashimoto said UH plays a big role in the research and development necessary to keep that specialty edge, and has done so over the years with crops ranging from pineapples to coffee to macadamia nuts.

    "The macadamia nut was brought here from Africa and Australia," Hashimoto said, "but over the years we've been recognized as having the best macadamia because of processing and breeding that was developed in Hawaii."

    He said almost any plant from somewhere else, when planted in the tropics, has to be adopted for the growing conditions. Maui onions, he said, are similar to Vidalia onions but different growing conditions produce different characteristics.

    Another route to profits for Hawaii farmers has been hydroponic vegetable, which grow faster than plants put in the ground.

    Richard Ha, who has banana orchards in the Hamakua area 10 miles out of Hilo, diversified into hydroponic tomatos, cucumbers and lettuce.

    "Hydroponic is basically soilless culture," Ha said. "For examples, to grow hydroponic tomatoes, we use chopped coconut fibers. You add water to it and it fluffs up. It's a good medium, it's sterile. In the case of lettuce, we use water as the media with nutrients in the water and no stuff in between."

    It takes about 40 days to grow a head of lettuce that way, from seed to harvest, of which about two and a half weeks are actually spent in the hydroponic house.

    Ha employs about 85 people. He sells his products to Alan Wong, Marilyn's Restaurant, Ihilani, Big Island Cafe and other restaurants and supermarkets under the brand name Hamakua Springs.

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    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    Recognition for Lois

    Our friend Lois Englberger has made Pacific Magazine's list of "293 Pacific Leaders You Need To Know" because of her efforts to promote local island food. Congratulations, Lois, and keep up the good work!

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    New On-line database to boost Pacific businesses

    From Pacnews

    A new on-line database launched this week should open up more opportunities for small businesses in the Pacific Islands to reach global markets.

    Pacificbizonline.com, a joint initiative by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation and the Pacific Trade & Investment Commission NZ was officially launched in Wellington by Fiji’s High Commissioner to New Zealand.

    Mr Ram said the on-line database would be a dynamic marketing tool that would be particularly useful to many of the small and medium enterprises of 16 Pacific Island countries by listing all their products, services and contact details on-line.

    Mr Ram said there was an increasing imbalance in trade between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and to a large extent the Pacific relied on special trade preferences and ODA to survive.

    “Hopefully, with this new and innovative “information gateway” now at their disposal with minimal cost, these SME’s would be able to reach potential markets beyond their shores, thereby expand their trade and related enterprises with ease and speed. This in turn would be able to generate and expand their revenue and profits and create much needed employment in the 16 countries. The website would thus provide a useful means to address many of the economic, social and other problems faced by the PIC’s.”

    The joint venture between PCF and PITIC NZ also promoted the aims and objectives of the Pacific Plan to promote economic growth and sustainable development in the Pacific Mr Ram said.

    The searchable database allows Pacific businesses, related Government departments, industry and sector organisations to log on, complete their business details and register free of charge. Once listed they can later update their information as circumstances change 24/7.

    Samoa Trade Commissioner Va'atu'itu'i Apete Meredith said the proximity to markets had always posed a challenge for the Pacific to contact or promote products and services cost effectively to overseas markets.

    “In this day and age….it is vital that our businesses in the Pacific are and can be accessed through these modern tools of communication namely the internet,” he said.

    The “Pacificbizonline.com” Project was therefore developed specifically to offer such an opportunity for businesses & commercial or trade organisations in the Pacific, to have some of their basic information registered ‘online’ so that they could be readily accessed by importers and potential importers in New Zealand and around the world.

    Mr Meredith encouraged the private sector to make full use of the http://Pacificbizonline.com website as a means to further promote Pacific Island products and services.

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    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Japanese Sweet-Potato Fries

    We often say that coming up with new ways of preparing our Pacific staples could be an effective means of increasing interest in them. Here's one from Japan, courtesy of Pete Petersen in The Oregonian. And check out a somewhat fancier concoction here.

    Makes 4 servings

    I've tried various oils and I find grapeseed oil is by far the best. The light flavor allows the subtly flavored Japanese Sweet to shine. Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, so it's good for all types of frying, but it's also lovely as a salad oil. It's not cheap, however; canola oil is a fine substitute.

    2 pounds Japanese sweet potato, peeled, rinsed and dried
    2/3 cup grapeseed oil or other light-flavored oil
    Sea salt, to taste
    Freshly ground fennel seed (optional)

    Cut a 1/8-inch-thick slice about the size of a quarter from the widest point of each peeled potato to create a flat base. Set a potato on its base on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Turn the slabs on their flat sides on the cutting board and cut them lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-wide fries. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

    Heat the oil in a wide saute pan until wavy lines develop on the bottom of the pan. Place a single piece of potato in the pan to test the temperature; the oil will bubble a bit but should not be so hot that it spits back at you.

    Adjust the heat and cook the fries in batches large enough to cover, but not crowd, the pan bottom. Turn the fries over after 90 seconds and cook another 60 seconds or until tender and well-browned. Transfer them with a slotted spoon to a triple thickness of paper towels. Season with salt or your favorite seasoning. (Try freshly ground fennel seed and prepare to fall in love.) Keep the first batch warm as you cook the rest.

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    Seed bank for native NZ plants threatened with extinction

    From Radio NZ, 21 Nov 2006.

    A new seed bank for New Zealand native plants will focus on saving plants most threatened with extinction.

    New Zealand already has a seed bank for commercially important agricultural crops, AgResearch's Margot Forde Germplasm Centre in Palmerston North. The new indigenous seed bank will also be housed there.

    John Sawyer of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network says members of the network will collect seeds for specialist storage in refrigerated conditions and the priority will be more than 200 threatened native plant species.

    He says the native seed bank will form part of a global network set up to help protect the world's flora against the effects of climate change and other environmental threats.

    Funding support will come from the consultancy firm, MWH New Zealand.

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    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Time to say good-bye...

    As some of you may know, I'll be leaving the Pacific in a few weeks, in mid-December in fact, on completion of an almost five-year stint as PGR Adviser at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community here in Fiji. It's been great working in the Pacific, getting to know some of you in person, others via email only, and making "PGR News from the Pacific" available to you all.

    Many thanks to those who took the on-line survey. That showed great support for continuing this service and I'll work very closely in the future with my successor (whoever that will be) to make sure that that happens. So please bear with us if postings are a bit less frequent than usual during the next few weeks. We'll think of ways to make the service more interactive too, so that any of you can contribute directly. One possibility is to transfer the mailing list to Google Groups or a similar service, though also maintaining the blog at http://papgren.blogspot.com. Any objections to that?

    You may also be interested in a new blog I'll be contributing to. More general thematically and personal in approach than "PGR News from the Pacific", it is called "Agrobiodiversity Weblog" and you can find it at http://agro.biodiver.se.

    Very best wishes to you all, and thanks for your collaboration and support during the past few years. I hope we'll stay in touch...


    * Comments:


    Good luck. Your successor is fortunate to inherit "PGR News from the Pacific".
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    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network launched

    Press Release: Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 17 November 2006

    Linking Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to domestic and international markets more effectively and responsibly and ensuring that agriculture and forestry are sustainably managed are the aims of the Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network, which was launched this morning by Dr Jimmie Rodgers, SPC Director-General, and Mr Vitolio Lui, SPREP Deputy Director, who was representing the Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

    "CTA, SPC and other regional organisations have designed a road map to create the network, and SPC has been unanimously designated to coordinate its preparatory activities and host it. This is the end of one process and the beginning of another that we hope will be equally successful," read Mr Lui on behalf of Mr Hansjrg Neun, CTA Director.

    With globalisation of the world economy and its markets resulting in increased competition among countries, the Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) will help broaden stakeholders' participation in regional and national policy development. The network encourages the participation of community groups, such as women's and youth groups, churches and NGOs. It will accelerate regional harmonisation and rationalisation of standards and grades for trade, and will naturally forge closer alliances and cooperation between the Pacific Islands region and other regions of the world.

    When describing the network, Mr Inoke Ratukalou, SPC Land Use and Resources Policy Adviser, said, "PAFPNet will focus on people and outcomes and will support regional economic cooperation among PICTs through dialogue and enhancement of regional and national policy themes, such as trade facilitation, biosecurity and trade, plant genetic resources, sustainable natural resource management, and capacity building."

    "This is a forward-looking initiative and I want to congratulate all the bodies involved," commented Mr George Hoa'au, CRGA delegate from the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "It is my hope that it will anchor its facilitation role within the ordinary stories of communities and peoples. Sometimes regional bodies and even national governments make policies related to resources over which they really have no control. Policy bodies and grassroots communities need to be on the same page, and PAFPNet will help to achieve this."

    He added, "This is the first time a network has included a research institute from Papua New Guinea, which is encouraging. There is expertise within the region, for example in New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand to name only a few countries, and I would like it to be tapped into as much as possible."

    To find out more about the network, please go to the website: http://www.spc.int/PAFPNet.

    For more information, contact Rosita Hoffmann, SPC Communications Officer, via email: RositaH@spc.int or by phone: +687 790442 (mobile).

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    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Guide to protecting traditional knowledge

    SPC Press release, 14 November 2006: Guide to protecting traditional knowledge and culture published

    How can Pacific Island countries and territories protect their culture and traditions from unfair exploitation?

    An important - and free - handbook published today gives a pathway to policy-makers looking to protect indigenous culture by legal means. The book is called The Guidelines: Guidelines for developing national legislation for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture based on the Pacific Model Law 2002.

    Produced by the Cultural Development Bureau of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community with the support of the New Zealand government, the 90-page book outlines issues that policy-makers need to consider when developing national legislation to protect traditional knowledge and expressions of culture from theft and misuse.

    “Most Pacific Islands countries and territories don’t have legal tools to protect their expressions of culture and their intellectual property,“ says Jimmie Rodgers, SPC’s Director-General.

    However, appropriation and commercialism of Pacific culture by non-Pacific people and entities is widespread.

    “For example, traditional Solomon Islands music was used, without permission being sought, for a commercial compact disc produced in Europe,” says Dr Rodgers. “Traditional Tongan designs have been found on wrapping paper in shops in New York.

    “All too often, the owners of the expressions of culture are not asked for permission and they don’t share in any of the commercial benefits. Too often, things are used out of their cultural context.”

    Dr Rodgers adds: “This is not only unfair, it is often very upsetting for the people who own or are custodians of the knowledge. As manifestations of intellectual creativity, traditional knowledge and expressions of culture deserve to be accorded the same legal protection that is provided to other forms of intellectual property.”

    New Zealand's Associate Commerce Minister, Judith Tizard, also welcomed the release of the guidelines.

    "I am delighted that the New Zealand Government has been able to support the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in this initiative. The preservation, protection and promotion of traditional knowledge is crucial for Pacific communities.

    “Traditional knowledge is integral to the lives of Pacific people and is critical to their health, culture, identity, education, food security and natural resources management."

    According to Rhonda Griffiths, SPC’s Cultural Development Adviser, the handbook is designed to help policymakers consider their options as they explore the legal framework offered in the “Pacific Model Law”, its full title The Model Law for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture.

    The model law was developed by Pacific legal and cultural experts with the Cultural Development Bureau and endorsed by Pacific Ministers of Culture in 2002.

    Countries are encouraged to adapt the law to suit their situations, and Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Palau have all taken concrete steps towards implementation.

    * For a copy of The Guidelines, see www.spc.int/culture

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    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Rationalizing taro collections

    Mace, E. S., P. N. Mathur, L. Izquierdo, D. Hunter, M. B. Taylor, D. Singh, I. H. DeLacy, G. V. H. Jackson and I. D. Godwin (2006)

    Rationalization of taro germplasm collections in the Pacific Island region using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers.

    Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 4(3): 210-220

    Abstract. A regional (Oceania) core collection for taro germplasm has been developed based on phenotypic and molecular characterization. In total, 2199 accessions of taro germplasm have been collected by TaroGen (Taro Genetic Resources: Conservation and Utilisation) from 10 countries in Oceania: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Palau, Niue, Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa. Our objective was to select 10% from each country to contribute to a regional core. The larger collections from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia were analysed based on phenotypic characters, and a diverse subset representing 20% of these collections was fingerprinted. A diverse 20% subsample was also taken from the Solomon Islands. All accessions from the other six countries were fingerprinted. In total, 515 accessions were genotyped (23.4% overall) using taro specific simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. DNA fingerprint data showed that great allelic diversity existed in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Interestingly, rare alleles were identified in taros from the Solomon Islands province of Choiseul which were not observed in any of the other collections. Overall, 211 accessions were recommended for inclusion in the final regional core collection based on the phenotypic and molecular characterization.

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    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    World Food Day in Pohnpei

    From Dr Lois Englberger

    I would like to share with you the article written by Amy Levendusky on the Pohnpei Farmers Fair and World Food Day activities 2006 held on 20 October 2006 . The article is also in the present issue of the Kaselehlie Press along with a photo of Ivy Rose Edwin of 12th Grade who won First Place in the World Food Day Essay Competition. The film of the World Food Day activities, produced by the College of Micronesia FSM Media Center, and in particular by Luciano Matthias, has now also been completed, so be sure to contact Channel 6 Television if you are on island and they would be happy to air that for you! If you would like a copy of this film for training purposes, and further promotion of the wonderful Pohnpei island foods, then please contact either myself or Luciano, and we will see how a copy might be made available for you.

    Thank you Amy, Ivy Rose and Luciano, and also to all participating in the 2006 Pohnpei Farmers Fair and World Food Day event, including our funding agencies, as listed in the article below! Also a special thanks to Dr. Mary Taylor, of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Germplasm Centre based in Fiji, for coming all the way to Pohnpei to serve as our guest speaker!

    Pohnpei Farmer’s Fair a Success

    By Amy Levendusky

    The Pohnpei Farmer’s Fair which coincided with World Food Day this year was a great success. The Fair was held on Friday, October 20th, at Pohnpei Agriculture inside of the Botanical Gardens. Activities included a food crop competition, a healthy cooking competition, and an essay/art competition for high school and elementary students. Demonstration booths were also set up for public viewing, including the Island Food Community of Pohnpei (IFCP), the Cooperative Research and Extension Services (CRE) of COM/FSM Land Grant, Public Health, Conservation Society of Pohnpei, DSAP, and the FSM National Biosafety Project. The event was organized by Pohnpei State Agriculture, COM/FSM Land Grant, and the Island Food Community of Pohnpei.

    A total of 114 farmers competed in 53 categories in the food crop competition.
    Mr. Pensis Elias from Kitti received the most points overall for his entries in the crop competition. (5 points for 1st place, 4 for 2nd Place, 3 for 3rd Place, 2 for 4th Place, and 1 for 5th Place) Mr. Sosner Edgar from U won 1st prize for his 210 pound yam, Kehp en Dol en Wai and his Namwuh Weitahta yam. Mr. Luciano Apraham from Sokehs won 1st prize for his 210 pound yam, Kehp Peniou. Ms. Mathia Pluhs from Nett won 1st prize for her breathtakingly large bunch of Iemwahn bananas. An abundance of fruit and vegetable crops and an impressive variety of banana and sugar cane entries highlighted the significance of locally-grown foods in Pohnpei.

    A total of 19 participants entered the Healthy Cooking Competition which focused on local food recipes. The categories included ripe Taiwang banana, ripe Karat banana, Mwahng (giant swamp taro), Kipar (pandanus), and any local food. The criteria included using a healthy cooking method (i.e. steamed, boiled, baked, or raw), using healthy ingredients (i.e. less salt, sugar, fat), good taste and appearance, written recipe accompanying the dish, local ingredients, and food sanitation.

    Mr. Samuel Washington from Kitti won 1st prize for his Karat banana cake. Ms. Pelihda Waltu from Kitti won 1st prize for her Kipar (pandanus) jelly. Ms. Eunice Hedgar from U won 1st prize for her Daiwang chocolate milkshake. Ms. Elizabeth Peter from Kitti won 1st prize for her Mwahng recipe and for the open recipe category.

    Ivy-Rose Edwin of PICS won 1st Prize in the 12th grade Essay Competition, along the theme “How can you and your family promote local foods for ensuring food security?” Ivy read her essay during the World Food Day ceremony. Rusty Primo of Awak Elementary School won 1st prize in the 8th grade Art Competition, along the same theme.

    The World Food Day Committee would like to thank everyone who participated in World Food Day 2006 and the following agencies for organizing/staffing this event: Pohnpei Agriculture of the Office of Economic Affairs, College of Micronesia-FSM Land Grant Program, Island Food Community of Pohnpei, Pohnpei Department of Education, Development of Sustainable Agriculture in the Pacific, Pohnpei Department of Health, Natural Resources Conservation Service, College of Micronesia-FSM Media Center, Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Foodland, FSM National Government and FSM National Biosafety Project. The Committee thanks the following agencies for funding World Food Day 2006: Pohnpei State Legislature, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, GEF Small Grants Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Pohnpei Department of Health, Bank of FSM, Pohnpei Island Architect and Construction, FSM Development Bank, Pacific German Regional Forestry Project, Do It Best, New Zealand Government, Telecom, Ace Office Supply, V6AH Radio, and Yoshie Enterprises.



    Lois Englberger, PhD
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    P. O. Box 2299
    Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941 FM
    Tel: 691-320-8639 Fax: 691-320-4647
    Website: http://www.islandfood.org

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    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Taro genome mapped

    First genetic maps and QTL studies of yield traits of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott)

    Euphytica Volume 151, pp 187-199

    J. Quero-García, B. Courtois, A. Ivancic, P. Letourmy, A. M. Risterucci, J. L. Noyer, Ph. Feldmann, V. Lebot


    The paper presents the first taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) genetic maps. Taro is an important vegetatively propagated root crop species in most subtropical areas. It is an allogamous and protogynous species with a basic chromosome number of x = 14. Two F1 progenies of 123 and 100 individuals obtained from crosses between local cultivars from Vanuatu (VU101 × VU104 and VU373 × VU314) were chosen for this study. Both genetic maps contained 169 markers, mainly AFLPs and 8 SSRs, and were characterised by a high density of markers and a short map length. The maps had 14 and 18 linkage groups (LG) respectively and were not completely saturated. Twenty-four markers were identified across the two progenies and a good co-linearity was observed for the majority of these markers. A QTL detection study was conducted on both progenies with 91 and 89 individuals respectively. Several putative QTLs were identified for corm yield and corm dimensions (which were highly correlated traits) whereas no QTL was detected for dry matter content. This result was relatively unexpected since dry matter content was a more highly heritable trait than corm yield or corm dimensions. A major dominant gene, responsible for the yellow colour of the corm flesh, was also identified. Further mapping studies on taro should include a larger number of SSR markers, larger progenies should be created and other important traits related to yield and eating quality should be included in the QTL analyses.

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    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Sugarcane diversity

    AFLP analysis of genetic diversity within Saccharum officinarum and comparison with sugarcane cultivars
    K. S. Aitken, J.-C. Li, P. Jackson, G. Piperidis and C. L. McIntyre

    Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 57(11) 1167–1184


    Molecular diversity among 421 clones of cultivated sugarcane and wild relatives was analysed using AFLP markers. Of these clones, 270 were Saccharum officinarum and 151 were either cultivars produced by the Australian breeding program or important parents used in the breeding program. The S. officinarum clones were obtained from a collection that contained clones from all the major regions where S. officinarum is grown. Five AFLP primer combinations generated 657 markers of which 614 were polymorphic. All clones contained a large number of markers; a result of the polyploid nature and heterozygosity of the genome. S. officinarum clones from New Guinea displayed greater diversity than S. officinarum clones from other regions. This is in agreement with the hypothesis that New Guinea is the centre of origin of this species. The S. officinarum clones from Hawaii and Fiji formed a separate group and may correspond to clones that have been introgressed with other members of the ‘Saccharum complex’. Greater diversity was found in the cultivars than in the S. officinarum clones due to the introgression of S. spontaneum chromatin. These cultivars clustered as expected based on pedigree. The major contribution of clones QN66-2008 and Nco310 to Australian sugarcane cultivars divided the cultivars into 2 main groups. Although only a few S. officinarum clones are known to have been used in the breeding of current cultivars, about 90% of markers present in the S. officinarum clone collection (2n = 80) were also present in the cultivar collection. This suggests that most of the observed genetic diversity in S. officinarum has been captured in Australian sugarcane germplasm.

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    Are these varieties made available to the US ?
    Not sure, but should be fairly easy to find out.
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