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?



    Saturday, January 27, 2007

    New Canarium paper

    Domestication potential and marketing of Canarium indicum nuts in the Pacific: 1. A literature review

    Agroforestry Systems Volume 69, Number 2 / February, 2007

    Tio Nevenimo, John Moxon, John Wemin, Mark Johnston, Colin Bunt and R. R. B. Leakey

    Abstract. Canarium indicum is an indigenous tree of the lowland forests of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) and parts of Indonesia producing edible nuts, commercial timber and some minor products. For thousands of years the nuts have been culturally important and a traditional food. Since the early 1990s there have been a number of projects aimed at the wider commercialization of the species, with mixed success. This review evaluates the biophysical and socio-economic literature and suggests how the domestication and commercialization processes could be taken forwards to improve the livelihoods of rural households in Melanesia. Many of the issues facing the domestication and commercialization of C. indicum nuts as an Agroforestry Tree Product (AFTP) are similar to those that will be important for the development of other AFTPs. Thus there are lessons that can be learnt from this species which make it a model for other agroforestry tree species.

    The list of references is available here.

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Island Food Community of Pohnpei

    From Dr Lois Englberger.

    We now have a published paper about our Island Food Community of Pohnpei, its background, vision, mission, activities and major challenges! This is in the Pacific Health Dialog, Vol 12 No 2, 2005, pages 79-84.

    Christelle Lepers of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has just shared with us about the release of the issue. Our particular article is here. The whole issue is here.

    The article was written in 2005, and the authors include our initial Founding Members and Board Members. A few things have changed since then, but the Yellow Varieties Message is the same, as well as our focus on an ethnographic, participatory inter-agency approach!

    The title, authors and abstract are below, and thank you again Christelle!

    An NGO approach for addressing the nutrition dilemma: the Island Food Community of Pohnpei focuses on awareness, food analysis, conservation, and food processing

    By Lois Englberger, Adelino Lorens, Bill Raynor, Amy Levendusky, Yumiko Paul, Welsihter Hagilmai, Jim Currie, Penny Weilbacher, Rufino Mauricio, Eliuel Pretrick, Willy Kostka, Ellen Ehsa, Robert Andreas

    Abstract. The establishment of the Island Food Community of Pohnpei, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, presents a new approach for promoting Pacific Island food for its health and many other benefits. Its vision is holistic, stressing the importance of island food for sustainable development, economic benefits, self-reliance, improved health, cultural preservation, and human dignity, at the same time protecting the natural resources. A major reason for the establishment of this NGO is the emergence of an epidemic of nutrition-related health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, vitamin A deficiency, and anemia. Although health is at the cornerstone of the establishment of this NGO and health officers are integrally involved, the project is closely associated with the agriculture sector. The Island Food Community of Pohnpei works via an ethnographic participatory inter-agency approach and its activities include the identification and promotion of nutrient-rich varieties of the traditional staple foods, incorporating the “Yellow Varieties Message.” There were also activities to conserve rare varieties and to develop small-scale food processing.

    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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    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    New breadfruit publication


    Diane Ragone and Catherine G. Cavaletto. Economic Botany 60 (4) : 335-346.

    Abstract : Twenty breadfruit cultivars growing in a field genebank at Kahanu Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hana, Maui, Hawaii, were evaluated for sensory attributes and nutrient composition. A taste panel scored eight flavor/aroma attributes, five textural attributes, and color. There were significant differences (P<0.01) in aroma, visual texture, flavor intensity, sweetness, starchiness, moistness, stringiness, firmness, and color. The greatest differences were in color and texture. Nutrient analyses showed significant differences (P<0.05) for energy, carbohydrates, ash, crude protein, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, copper, and zinc. Considering the versatility of breadfruit as a food, its ease of production, and its nutritional value, the numerous good quality flavorful cultivars available should be more widely grown for sustainable agriculture and food security.

    Reprints available: breadfruit@ntbg.org

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    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Two island food papers

    From Dr Lois Englberger.

    Dr Nelofar Athar has kindly informed us about a new source of information on Island Foods!

    This is the Proceedings of the 7th OCEANIAFOODS Conference held in April 2005 in Wellington, New Zealand. It is available at this website and the pdf file is also available.

    One session of the meeting was titled “Advancements in food and nutrition data in the Asia Pacific region,” and includes our paper from Micronesia, the abstract which is given below. The full paper is presented in the proceedings.

    We also have a second paper, titled “A Novel Approach for Presenting Food Composition Data in the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati.” The full paper gives a fuller discussion of our work in this area, including the production of Karat banana postal stamps, development of the genebank for conserving nutrient rich varieties, food processing work, and our community project in Mand. In that same session is also a paper on food contaminant studies as presented by Professor Bill Aalbersberg based in Fiji, and another paper on phytochemicals.

    Thank you again Nelofar for all your work on the meeting and letting us know about the completion of the Proceedings!


    Identification of Micronutrient-rich Locally Grown Foods in the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati

    Authors: Englberger L, Aalbersberg W, Schierle J, Hoffman P, Humphries J, Huang A, Marks GC, Lorens A, Alfred J, Iuta T, Kaiririete M, Fitzgerald MH

    Objective: Vitamin A deficiency, anemia, and chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, are serious nutritionally-related health problems in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Marshall Islands, and Kiribati. The purpose of this study was to identify locally grown acceptable foods rich in provitamin A carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals that could be promoted to alleviate these health problems.

    Method: Ethnography was used to select foods and food cultivars for analysis and to understand factors of production, consumption, and acceptability. The DSM Yolk Color Fan was used to estimate the edible flesh coloration. Samples were analyzed for provitamin A and total carotenoids using HPLC and selected vitamins and minerals using HPLC and standard methods (vitamins and minerals) and a microbiological method (folate).

    Results: The cultivars with greater yellow- and orange-coloured edible flesh had higher carotenoid levels. Many banana, giant swamp taro, breadfruit, and pandanus cultivars, and other staple foods, including apuch from FSM and te bero from Kiribati, were identified as rich in provitamin A carotenoids, meeting either half or all of the estimated daily vitamin A requirements. Some giant swamp taro cultivars were identified with high levels of zinc and other minerals, and the carotenoid-rich Karat banana had high levels of riboflavin and other vitamins. The fish liver of the species studied were all rich sources of retinol, but there were also great differences in the levels.

    Conclusion: Many locally grown Pacific Island staple foods have been neglected but are rich in micronutrients, including provitamin A carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals.

    Recommendation: Those acceptable staple foods rich in provitamin A and total carotenoids, vitamins, and/or minerals should be promoted for their role in alleviating micronutrient deficiencies and for possibly alleviating diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Further work is needed in identifying other Pacific Island nutrient-rich locally grown foods. Ethnography should continue to be used in selecting locally grown foods for analysis, exploring social factors for reasons that these have been neglected, and for collecting information for planning promotion programs.

    A Novel Approach for Presenting Food Composition Data in the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati

    Authors: Englberger L, Lorens A, Paul Y, Timothy J, Alfred J, Nemra J, Iuta T, Ioanne T, Marks GC, Fitzgerald MH

    Objective: In order to effectively communicate food composition data the right kind of promotional materials and messages are needed. This project developed a set of materials in order to promote locally grown carotenoid-rich foods and alleviate vitamin A deficiency, anemia, and chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers). The project included the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati.

    Method: Ethnography, including key informant interviews, informal focus group discussions, photography, and observation, were used to select foods of potential carotenoid content and to understand factors of production, consumption, and acceptability. Photographic materials were developed to show visual differences between the white-fleshed (or lighter-coloured) cultivars of low carotenoid content and the yellow- and orange-fleshed cultivars of high carotenoid content, focusing on banana, giant swamp taro, breadfruit, and pandanus. The content of the most important of the provitamin A carotenoids, beta-carotene, expressed per 100 g edible portion, was presented under the photo of the edible flesh of each cultivar. One page presented the message that rice contains no carotenoid at all. Another page presented the health benefits of yellow-fleshed cultivars.

    Results: Great interest was shown in the materials by people of a broad range of professions and backgrounds, some requesting a fuller explanation of technical terms, such as beta-carotene. On the whole, respondents could see that the deep yellow- or orange-fleshed cultivars had the higher carotenoid content, while some were interested simply in seeing photographs of their own traditional foods presented in an attractive form or were interested in learning the cultivar names.

    Conclusion: This novel approach to presenting carotenoid data was effective in communicating health messages in Micronesia.

    Recommendation: This approach for communicating food composition data could be used in further Micronesian programs and possibly elsewhere to present nutrient content data and promote locally grown foods.

    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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    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    New book on traditional medicine in Samoa

    Herbal Medicine in Samoa. W. Arthur Whistler. Allertonia Vol. 9 (2). 2006.

    Abstract: A study of the native medicinal practices in the south Pacific archipelago of Samoa was carried out by the author. Based on interviews in the Samoan language with 25 native healers, a list of 85 plant species used medicinally was compiled. The list includes the scientific names, Samoan names, specific medicinal uses, and frequency of usage. The usages are compared with other studies in Polynesia, particularly with a compilation made by Kramer (1902-1903) in Samoa at the turn of the last century. The data indicate that while many of the same medicinal species are currently used as compared to a century ago, the uses are quite different, which indicates that there have been major changes in the way plants have been used medicinally in Samoa over the last century. The medicinal plants most communly used today are Morinda citrifolia (Rubiaceae), Psychotria insularum (Rubiaceae), Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae), Phymatosorus grossus (Polypodiaceae), Cordyline fruticosa (Agavaceae), Centella asiatica (Apiaceae), Rorippa sarmentosa (Brassicaceae), Zingiber officinale (Zingiberaceae), Vigna marina (Fabaceae), and Aloe vera (Agavaceae). About 30 species that may show medicinal promise in future studies are listed, along with the ailments they are used to treat.

    Available for $22.95
    National Tropical Botanical Garden3530 Papalina Road
    Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii 96741

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