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
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.
Mr William Wigmore
Director of Research
Ministry of Agriculture
Department of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 96
Tel: (682) 28711-29720
Fax: (682) 21881
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Office of Economic Affairs
P.O. Box 1028
Federated States of Micronesia
Tel: (691) 3202400
Fax: (691) 3202127
Dr Lois Englberger
Island Food Community of Pohnpei
P.O. Box 2299
Federated States of Micronesia
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Director of Research
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
Koronivia Research Station
P.O. Box 77
Tel: (679) 3477044
Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
Dr Maurice Wong
Service du Developpement Rural
Tel: (689) 42 81 44
Fax: (689) 42 08 31
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com
Mr Frederick Muller
Ministry of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 1727
Tel: (692) 6253206
Fax: (692) 6257471
Mr Herman Francisco
Bureau of Agriculture
Ministry of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 460
Tel: (680) 4881517
Fax: (680) 4881725
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
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Principal Crop Development Officer
Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
P.O. Box 1874
Tel: (685) 23416-20605
Fax: (685) 20607-23996
Mr Jimi Saelea
Director of Research
Department of Agriculture and Livestock
P.O. Box G13
Tel: (677) 27987
Mr Tony Jansen
Planting Materials Network
Kastom Gaden Association
Burns Creek, Honiara
P.O. Box 742
Tel: (677) 39551
Mr Finao Pole
Head of Research
Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
P.O. Box 14
Tel: (676) 23038
Fax: (676) 24271
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Head of Research
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
Private Mail Bag 040
Tel: (678) 22525
Fax: (678) 25265
Other CROP agencies
University of the South Pacific
Hawaiian native plants
Intellectual property rights
WWF South Pacific Program
Other Pacific organizations
Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
Te Puna web directory
Pacific Islands News
Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Travel
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Posted 2:00 PM by Tevita
Assessment of the risk of hepatotoxicity with kava products
From : WHO
Opinion on key question
1. Evidence from our review of case reports suggests that kava lactones in any type of product may rarely cause hepatic adverse reactions because of kava-drug interactions, excessive alcohol intake, metabolic or immune mediated idiosyncrasy, excessive dose or pre-existing liver disease.
2. In addition to this background incidence, products made from acetonic and ethanolic extracts appear to be hepatotoxic on rare occasions, seemingly from non-kava lactone constituents. The incidence is unknown, but is more significant than the background e£lfect in '1'.
There has been international concern over the association of kava products and serious hepatotoxicity. Regulatory action banning these products in Europe has been controversial. The objective of this report is to investigate the possibility of hepatotoxicity with kava. This report is written in four major sections:
I Description of kava
IIA Safety information -literature review
IIB Safety infonnation -analysis of case reports
IVConclusions and recommendations
The first 3 sections are written as stand-alone documents with their own references. In addition there is:
- A summary of findings
- A summary of recommendations
- A bibliography.
I Description of kava
- The known pharmacologically active components are a group of kava lactones.
- The types of preparation are water 'extracts' (the traditionally prepared microsuspensions in water and 'teas' prepared from powdered kava root), organic extracts (ethanolic and acetonic) and synthetic. These different products are not chemically equivalent. Products prepared from the organic extracts have been those principally used in Europe and North America in pill or capsule form.j
- The raw materials for the preparation of these products come from a variety of sources without adequate quality control and without sufficient standardization of selection of plant varieties or cultivars or plant parts.
II A safety information -literature review
- Clinical trials of kava have not revealed any hepatotoxicity.
- Most experimental studies have not shown that kava has a tendency to have a toxic effect on the liver.
- Most clinical reviews of case reports cast doubt on a causa association between kave products and liver roblems.The cases have come to regulatory authorities as spontaneous
reports. There have been no epidemiological studies and the incidence is not known.
II B Safety information -review of case reports
1. Findings from case reports
- This was undertaken using standard pharmacovigilance and phannacoepidemiological methods.
- 93 case reports were identified with the possibility of a small number of duplications.
- There were seven patients who died and 14 patients had liver transplants.
- As is usual in pharmacovigilance, most of the reports were incomplete to one degree or another.
- Eight of the cases were coded as having a 'probable' association, meaning that essential information was present for a standard assessment, that a close association between the use of kava and the liver problem. was established, that the patients recovered on withdrawal of kava and that no other plausible cause for the liver problems could be identified.
- 53 cases were classified as having a 'possible' relationship meaning that a causal association was plausible, but that there were insufficient data for a full assessment, or there were other potential causes of liverdamage.
- Most of the other case reports were unassessable because of lack of information.
- There were five cases with a positive rechallenge.
- With the use of sales volume figures converted to a defined daily dose, rates of hepatic events were estimated for acetonic and ethanolic extracts and synthetic products. Patients taking acetonic and ethanolic extracts had a higher rate of liver problems than patients taking synthetic products. These differences were independent of age, gender, dose, duration of treatment, concomitant therapy and/or alcohol use and are unlikely to be confounded by other disease states.
2. Conclusions from review of case reports
- The relationship (causality) ratings provide a significant concern of a cause and effect relationship between kava products and hepatotoxicity. A nonrandom effect is indicated by a higher rate for the organic extracts than for synthetic products.
- Chemicals other than kava lactones might be responsible for hepatotoxicity with the organic extracts.
- Kava products have a strong propensity for kava-drug interactions.
- Risk factors for hepatic reactions appear to be the use of organic extracts, heavy alcohol intake, pre-existing liver disease, genetic polymorphisms of cytochrome P450 enzymes and excessive dose. Also, co-medication with other potentially hepatotoxic drugs and potentially interacting drugs, particularly other anxiolytics, antipsychotics and and-thrombotics, might lead to harm.
For more on the article refer to the link below ( this is a three day link) :
Article Courtesy of : HC Bittenbender [email@example.com]
Posted 1:14 PM by Tevita
Food composition activities in the Oceania regionFrom : Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 20(8): 709-712.
Athar, N., J. Cunningham and W. Aalbersberg (2007).
Keywords: Pacific; nutrition; OCEANIAFOODS; Food composition; Nutrient data. Abstract: OCEANIAFOODS was established in 1987.
Countries under its umbrella are Australia, New Zealand and the Secretariat of Pacific Communities (SPC, formerly the South Pacific Commission), which represents 22 Pacific Island governments. The convenorship rotates among these three regions. This report highlights major activities undertaken by OCEANIAFOODS from 2002 to 2005. The SPC, based in New Caledonia, includes a Lifestyle Health section (LHS) and a sub-office in Fiji. In Fiji, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) commissioned a project to strengthen food analytical capability in the Pacific region. The project, which ran from April 2002 to August 2004, succeeded in meeting all its goals with some adjustments. In Australia, food composition work is undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and has focused on three key areas: providing a free web-based nutrition panel calculator for nutrition labelling, preparing for the release of updated Australian nutrient data, and initiating several small analytical projects including the analysis of iodine levels in common foods and folates and folic acid in foods such as breakfast cereals. Activities outside FSANZ include further research on folate analysis at the University of New South Wales. In New Zealand, the focus has been on developing the food composition database. In 2003, Dr. Heather Greenfield reviewed the New Zealand Food Composition Database (NZFCDB), and in July 2004 the Ministry of Health renewed Crop and Food Research's contract until June 2007 to maintain the database. Publications over the last 3 years include the sixth edition of the concise food composition tables and release of an updated FOODFiles2004 electronic data files. In April 2005, the Seventh OCEANIAFOODS Conference, Innovations in Nutrient Information, was held in Wellington, New Zealand. Fifty-nine delegates attended the conference at which keynote addresses were given by Joanne Holden (USA), Bill Aalbersberg (Fiji), and Heather Greenfield (Australia). The conference resulted in 13 recommendations being formulated. The convenor of the next OCEANIAFOODS conference is Professor Bill Aalbersberg, Fiji.
Posted 1:05 PM by Tevita
Pacific Protected Areas DatabaseFrom : Pacific Biodoversity Information Forum
Created in 2003, the Pacific Protected Areas Database (PPAD) is a work in progress to document protected areas in the Pacific islands region of Oceania (Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia). The Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum is working to engage national, regional and international stakeholders to further the development of the database and increase the
ability for managers, scientists, policy makers and community members to gauge the distribution, representation and effectiveness of PA's across the region. Improvements
to the inventory include regular comprehensive data calls for updated information, increased online functionality, improved visual representation via Geographic Information System tools, and reclassification under the World Conservation Union protected areas category system.
The intention is for the information gathered in the database to feed directly into the larger international initiatives such as the World Database on Protected Areas, UN List of Protected Areas, and MPA Global. A meeting on the PPAD is scheduled to take place in Papua New Guinea
prior to the 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in October.
Posted 12:50 PM by Tevita
Climate ChangeNews & Broadcast - World Bank
AT A GLANCE:
Climate change is both a development and environmental issue. A global consensus is emerging that climate change is an issue that cannot wait and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
- Today there is a double challenge: how to reduce damaging carbon emissions and still meet the energy demands of the world’s poor. The World Bank focuses on the additional economic and social opportunities that a low carbon path creates.
- Countries trying to escape from poverty should not be penalized for the consequences of fossil fuel dependent growth patterns in the rich countries. Their development aspirations should be at the center.
- A global regulatory framework, which would provide the necessary financial flows to developing countries, is needed. This framework should match the long-term need for energy for development with the necessary technical innovation and financial incentives to move consistently towards a low carbon economy.
The Poor Are Disproportionately Affected
Developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change than rich countries, with poor people being the most at risk from the increased impacts of volatility in weather patterns (i.e., floods and droughts). Human-induced climate change is expected to negatively impact agricultural productivity throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, decrease water quantity and quality in most arid and semi-arid regions, increase the incidence of malaria, dengue and other vector borne diseases in the tropics and sub-tropics, and harm ecological systems and their biodiversity. In addition, the sea level rise associated with expected increases in temperature could displace tens of millions of people living in low-lying areas, such as the Ganges and the Nile deltas, and could threaten the very existence of small island states.
The Clean Energy Investment Framework (CEIF)
The G8 Gleneagles Summit in Scotland two years ago asked the World Bank to produce a roadmap for accelerating investments in clean energy for the developing world, in cooperation with the other international financial institutions.
The Clean Energy Investment Framework (CEIF) identifies the scale of investments needed to:
- increase access to energy, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa;
- accelerate transition to a low carbon economy; and
- adapt to climate variability and change.
According to the Framework, the power sector needs $165 billion in investments each year this decade. Only about half of that is financed. Tens of billions of US $ per year are also required to cover the incremental costs of transitioning to a low carbon economy. The added costs of climate proofing projects associated with aid and concessionary finance to developing countries will amount to a few billion a year, while the total costs born by developing country public and private sectors is likely to be some tens of billions per year.
A Clean Energy for Development Investment Framework: Making a Difference on Climate Change - Progress Report, which provides an update of work undertaken to date as well as actions planned by the World Bank Group in support of the CEIF, will be a background paper for discussion in the Development Committee at the World Bank - IMF Annual Meetings in October 2007.
Towards a Low Carbon Development Path
Moving to a low carbon path will require a long-term equitable global regulatory framework to reduce greenhouse emissions - a framework:
- in which rich countries show leadership by supporting developing countries in exchange for the global benefit of greener, smarter growth;
- that provides certainty to stimulate research and development in transformational technologies; and
- that allows carbon markets to thrive and bring financial flows to developing countries to the tune of $100 billion within a few decades.1 According to Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), these financial flows could go a very long way towards addressing climate change in developing countries.2
The World Bank's Approach to Clean Energy & Climate Change
The World Bank Group is focusing its efforts on four fronts.
- Helping developing countries to move to a lower carbon path by exploiting renewable energy resources, supporting energy conservation, and increasing efficiency. The World Bank's energy commitments for fiscal years 2006-2008 are expected to exceed $10 billion over the three year period, an increase of about 40 percent as compared to the previous three year period. The Bank committed $668 million in fiscal year 2006 to new renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This is an increase of 45 percent when compared to 2005 commitments.
- Promoting new technologies. Some of those, like carbon capture and storage (CCS), address the need to reduce the carbon impact of fossil fuels. They are essential in countries like India and China that still depend heavily on coal. As part of its broader work on bio-energy, the Bank is looking at the feasibility and economic viability of bio-fuel programs in developing countries.
- Preventing deforestation. Around 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions result from poor land management, especially deforestation, which not only threatens the environment it also destroys wildlife and erodes the natural wealth of the poor. Together with its partners, the World Bank is developing a forest carbon partnership facility that will help countries combat deforestation and be rewarded with carbon finance credits.
- Adaptation to climate risks. Developing countries and particularly the world poorest people would be the ones most harmed by changes of climate and extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and rising sea levels. The World Bank was among the leaders in addressing adaptation to climate risk through technical analysis of risk management and by pioneering insurance work in the Caribbean, in Latin America, and in South Asia. The challenge now is to replicate these lessons more widely, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands.
Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR)
Through the Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) partnership, the World Bank is helping oil producing countries and companies to increase the utilization of natural gas, which will otherwise be flared or burned and thus will harm the environment. The GGFR partnership estimates that about 150 billion cubic meters of gas is flared every year (equivalent to about 30 per cent of EU's annual consumption of gas and 25 per cent of US's consumption), releasing about 400 million tonnes of CO2. In today's context of sustainable development, gas flaring reduction efforts are thus not only relevant but also viable and desirable.
Carbon Finance at the World Bank
The World Bank was a pioneer in the carbon market. The Bank's operational engagement in carbon finance started with the establishment of the $180 million Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) in 1999. This was rapidly followed by the establishment of other funds and facilities as the Kyoto Protocol was ratified. Today, the World Bank manages just over $2 billion across 10 carbon funds and facilities. Sixteen governments and 65 private companies from various sectors have made financial contributions to these funds.
The funds and facilities include the PCF; the Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF), which extends carbon finance to small poorer countries and communities; the BioCarbon Fund (BioCF), which applies carbon finance to forestry and land use projects; the Netherlands (Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) (*) Facilities; the Italian Carbon Fund; The Spanish Carbon Fund; the Danish Carbon Fund; the Umbrella Carbon Facility; and the Carbon Fund for Europe, launched in March 2007.
While the Bank's initial role was to catalyze the global market for carbon emission reductions, carbon finance is now emerging into the mainstream of the Bank's lending program. In December 2005, the Executive Directors endorsed the Bank's approach for further engagement in carbon finance, focusing on three clear objectives - to:
- ensure that carbon finance contributes to sustainable development;
- assist in building, sustaining, and expanding the international market for carbon emission reductions; and
- further strengthen the capacity of developing countries to benefit from the emerging market for emission reduction credits.
Operationally, the carbon finance program essentially supports the objectives of the second pillar of the Investment Framework for Clean Energy and Development, by providing incentives for transitioning to a low-carbon economy in the Bank's client countries.
(*) The Clean Development Mechanism, (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) are flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol that allow OECD countries to fulfill some of their greenhouse gas emission-reduction commitments through projects in the developing world (CDM) and countries with economies in transition (JI) . .
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Posted 3:04 PM by Tevita
Galip nut industry taking shape in PNG
Galip nut (Canarium indicum), an indigenous tree crop which grows in the wild of Papua New Guinea, has the potential to become a new export cash crop once it is domesticated and commercialised.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) has revealed this and commenced work to develop an industry for galip. Thanks to the European Union (EU) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) for funding various research projects implemented by NARI to develop the industry which will go a long way to benefit Papua New Guineans. The birth of the industry was signified in April when a project on PNG Nut Development was launched at Keravat in East New Britain province.
Research by NARI’s Keravat-based Lowlands Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES) showed that this indigenous and culturally important crop can be developed into a major cash crop industry and generate income and other benefits for smallholder farmers. Among others, this study examined the chemical composition of the nut and other quality traits of importance to a nut industry. The study also assessed the domestic and export markets and canvassed Australian nut buyers and processors.
Another initiative, funded by EU to evaluate the commercialisation of a range of alternative cash crops at LAES from 2003 to 2006, finally chose galip and nutmeg for major development.
During the launching of the project on April 24, Chairman of NARI Council Dr John Kola said some 150,000 nut trees of galip will be established in East New Britain over the next two years. This, Dr Kola said, is to provide the resource base to kick-start the new industry, adding that they will come from some 100 elite galip trees that have been selected based on quality and high
yield. “These galip selections will be planted, predominantly in existing cocoa blocks, where they will act both as a shade for cocoa and provide cash income,” Dr Kola said. “Galip can also be used as a shade for other cash crops such as coffee, pepper, vanilla and kava – providing the basis for a versatile, sustainable and environmentally friendly farming system. Galip trees after 30 years will still be compatible with other crops and also offer opportunity for income from quality timber.”
Posted 2:41 PM by Tevita
NARI releases early maturing sweet potatoesFrom: NARI Nius
Twelve early maturing sweet potato or kaukau varieties have been released to farmers. The 12 varieties are suitable for high altitudes of Papua New Guinea and can be harvested as early as six months.
Food security is a big issue nationwide and particularly for the high altitude areas because of low
temperatures, high rainfall and frost occurrence. Sweet potato therefore takes longer to mature, usually 9-12 months. The released varieties can give something to farmers to fall back
on when there is frost in areas above 1,800 metres above sea level.
They were selected from an initial 60 varieties collected from the Highlands region and were
evaluated at various sites since 2003 by NARI agronomist Kud Sitango.
NARI releases early maturing sweet potatoes. The released varieties were finally evaluated in the Western Highlands (Tambul), Enga (Kandep and Taluma) and Simbu (Kelga) provinces and they have shown to adopt well in all conditions. The final selection was made from this assessment. They were selected based on good marketable yield, taste and farmer preference and have been released as preliminary material for farmers to evaluate and adopt those that yield well under their conditions. An assessment will be done by NARI to confirm adoption.
NARI Tambul Research Programme Leader, Leader Alai Simin, said the varieties can give yields up to about 5-9 tonnes per hectare at six months maturity in the high altitude areas. Mr Simin said this is much better than the usual 2-10 tonnes per hectare farmers get from 10-12 months.
Planting materials or vines can be obtained from NARI in Tambul or Kandep. The contact
address is NARI High Altitude Highlands Programme, PO Box 120, Mt Hagen, WHP,
phone 542 3443/2779, fax 542 2779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The high altitude is the region where 15 percent of PNG’s population or about 880, 000 people
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