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?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Posted 1:44 PM by Luigi
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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