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?



    Friday, November 30, 2007

    UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali: Sri Lanka hopes to make a strong impact

    From : Asian Tribune

    By Mallika Wanigasundara

    One of the biggest obstacles to the implementation of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of the levels of carbon dioxide emissions and other green house gases into the atmosphere was the refusal of three of the biggest polluters, the US, the European Union and Australia to sign the Protocol.The agreement stipulated that carbon emission levels be reduced by five per cent between 1997 and 2007 on a voluntary basis.
    Against these almost intractable giants Sri Lanka hopes to make a strong impact with certain proposals and recommendations at the upcoming UN Conference on Climate Change due to be held at Bali between Dec.3rd and Dec. 14th. Sri Lanka will be represented by Central Environment Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila, Director Environmental Economics and Global Affairs Aruna Jayatilleke and other officials.
    It is indeed welcome news that Australia’s new Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has vowed that he will change Australia’s policy and sign the Kyoto Protocol.
    Sri Lanka can claim to take a lead role in reducing carbon emissions as our level stands at 9 tonnes [note: point nine] per capita as against the US’s 19 tonnes per capita around 1997. It could be 22 tonnes per capita now for the US, says Minister of Environment Patali Champika Ranawake in an interview.
    Sri Lanka has some other plus points in world ratings. The World Economic Forum along with researchers from the universities of Yale and Columbia rate Sri Lanka as one of the greenest countries in the region and places her in 36th position among 141 countries ahead of Australia and Malaysia.
    In the green house gases category where carbon emissions are measured per capita Sri Lanka rates 37th place. In the energy efficiency rating Sri Lanka gets 36th place, and 66th when social and economic factors are taken into account.. In the light of these achievements Sri Lanka Tourism is taking advantage to promote the country on the theme ‘a carbon clean Sri Lanka- Tourism’s earth lung’.
    Minister Champika Ranawake explained the background to the proposals which Sri Lanka hopes to make at the conference. Under the Kyoto Protocol 39 countries were ranked as high polluters as their levels of carbon emissions were above the world average of 5.2 tonnes per capita, and they were placed in what was called Annexure One.
    Up to 2007 the cut of five percent was voluntary. Now, from 2008 to 2012 real carbon emission cuts have been made mandatory. Voicing Sri Lanka’s position Minister Ranawake says that considering carbon emission levels now a five percent cut is inadequate. It should be increased, he says. The time for change is ripe, he adds, because there are no valid arguments against the need to cut carbon emissions as there were earlier.
    The link between high levels of carbon emissions and other green house gases and the warming of the planet and climate change is being generally accepted and is not being strongly contested. The sceptics have become a thinning crowd, he says. One of the arguments brought forward by the US is that computations should be made on a country wise basis and not on per capita. But says Minister Ranawake, at the last meeting of the UN Council on Climate Change in New York we decided to adopt the per capita computation because small and weak countries like ourselves would benefit more and get a fairer deal in the carbon trade.
    After 1997 certain mechanisms came into operation such as carbon trading. Those countries which have over the average carbon emission levels can buy carbon credit points from countries which earned low levels of carbon emission, below the world average which is 5.2 tonnes per capita.
    There is then the CDM or Clean Development Mechanism through the operation of which we can earn money in the carbon business from the high polluters if we run projects which emit lower levels of carbon such as through the use of renewable energies like wind power solar power, hydro ‘bio energy and in garbage management. These mechanisms can earn money for countries with low levels of carbon emission and encourage themselves and others. There is money in carbon trading- US dollars ten per ton of carbon. Many Soviet bloc countries now in the EU engage in this kind of carbon trading.
    Almost all these countries [this is so with small, weak, less developed or countries in crisis] have low levels of carbon emissions below average and they do carbon deals with high polluters like Germany, France and Britain.
    There is another mechanism call Joint Implementation in which the high polluters implement joint projects which use energy sources which emit less carbon such as wind power, hydro,or bio energy and other renewable energy sources; or they have joint projects for garbage management. These carbon credits too can be bought for payment, This kind of carbon trading has been going on between the EU and Russia.
    But as in the case of all matters there are hitches for small, poor and weak countries in the carbon business, says Minister Ranawake. Only about 20 per cent of the carbon business is left for small countries. China. India and Brazil dominate this trade. There is a reason for this. Countries like Sri Lanka have small projects which have low levels of carbon emission, but we are not in a position to offer large volumes of carbon credits to these big polluters as China, India and Brazil are able to do.
    Minister Ranawake is of the view that the carbon trade should be rationalized, so that all countries will benefit from it equitably. More attention, he says, should be paid to the countries of Asia, Africa and South America which are in the final count the countries which least pollute the atmosphere and provide the carbon sinks through the existence of huge forested areas.
    This is why we are pushing for the per capita evaluation of carbon emissions as against evaluation on a country basis. In addition we are recommending a quota system in the carbon market, which could be based on certain parameters, such as biodiversity, population, ecological balance, clean projects, carbon emissions etc, Mr Ranawake said.
    This would give us more equitable treatment, and a fairer deal. The carbon trade should not be used as a political tool, he commented. Our forests are carbon sinks and they absorb carbon emitted globally. For providing these carbon store houses we should be paid, he observed. But here too there is a hitch. The high polluters will not pay for our existing forests like Sinharaja . They will only pay for new forests on the basis of what is called a-forestration and re-forestration which fall within certain time scales.
    We also hope to demand that the Adaptation Fund be operated properly. Money has not been put into it as agreed earlier. So this must be done Mr Ranawake said. At least five per cent of the carbon business should be put into it, he said. There will come a time when not only the people of the Pacific islands, the Maldives and even Sri Lanka would be affected but all people all over the world living in coastal areas would face the catastrophe. They would have to be relocated, resettled fed and maintained.
    In the final count not only these piecemeal measures but all countries of the world; particularly the high polluters will have to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale if this planet is to avert the disaster. The enormity of what awaits planet earth is spelt out in a document compiled by the most authoritative body on climate change, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ahead of the Bali conference.
    It warns that the world is on the verge of a catastrophe due to global warming. In a summary for policy makers it dismisses the views of those who have been sceptical about green house gases and climate change.
    By 2100 global temperatures would rise between 1.1 C [1.98F] and 6.4C [11.52F] compared to 1980/1999 levels. Sea levels would rise by between 18 and 59 centimeters [7.2 and 23.2 inches].We do not have to think about far away islands we can think of Colombo, Jaffna , Hambantota and Batticaloa.
    In fact it is already here: retreating glaciers, the thinning of arctic ice, the melting of snows, the thawing of permafrost. There will be heat waves, droughts, forest fires, rainstorms floods, cyclones, sea level surges and shortage of drinking water in a situation in which trapped heat will change weather patterns everywhere. When the ancient ice sheets melt the sea levels will rise faster and inundate low-lying coastal areas; farms will be flooded and salination will occur. There will be damage to ports, buildings, tourist resorts, marinas, beaches. Fish and prawn habitats will be washed away with mangroves and estuaries. Millions will be without livelihood and homeless.
    Since 1800 the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has shot up from 275 parts per million to 350ppm and is estimated to exceed 550 ppm by 2035.Carbon dioxide is the most abundant of the green house gases which include methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons.
    - Asian Tribune -

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Response to Ms. Lee Tan’s article “Papua New Guinea: Women and Oil Palm” which appeared on the PGR website on the 21st November, 2007.
    I was moved to respond to the article after hearing that some of the female oil palm smallholders felt denigrated by the article and wanted the facts to be corrected. In the article Ms Lee refers to an oil palm smallholder payment scheme introduced in 1997 at Hoskins, WNB, that pays women separately from their husbands for work on their family oil palm plots. The payment system is known as the ‘Mama Lus Frut Scheme’. Ms Tan’s article asserts that the scheme is “associated with prostitution” and is “reportedly supporting a thriving sex trade”.

    Ms Tan claims that:

    … women who are desperate for cash provide sex to men in exchange for more loose fruit to be left by the men for them to pick. There are now more women working in the oil palm grove offering an opportunity for a sex trade to take place. This situation has dissuaded genuine women pickers, who fear being tarnished with the same brush, from taking part in the scheme.

    The claims made by Ms Tan of a “thriving sex industry” are not based on interviews she conducted among female oil palm smallholders, despite her statement that the “information contained in this article is based on several field trips in Oro and West New Britain Province between 2003 and 2007”. Instead, Ms Tan’s information sources come from email communications with two people and from discussions at an NGO meeting in 2004. One of the main email informants quoted in Ms Tan’s article is Dr. Morgina, an ethnobotanist at UPNG, who informed me that her comments were taken out of context and there was no inference in her communication with Ms Tan that the scheme was linked to a “thriving sex trade” (Dr Morgina pers. comm., 27th November, 2007).

    As a researcher who has worked among female oil palm smallholders in WNB and Oro Province since 2000 and interviewed dozens of smallholder women, I have not heard local women or men talk about any links between prostitution and the Mama Lus Fruit scheme. Further, given that at Hoskins over 4,500 women have their own harvesting cards (representing approximately 63% of oil palm blocks) there is also little evidence that women are “dissuaded” from collecting loose fruit because they “fear being tarnished with the same brush [of prostitution] from taking part in the scheme” as claimed by Tan. The income figures used by Tan are also misleading. In 2003 women earned an average weekly income of K49 (OPIC data), almost double the national minimum weekly wage of K24.68 (Bank of Papua New Guinea, 2005) (total household weekly income from oil palm in 2003 was approximately K200). Women’s income is earned from approximately three days work per fortnight collecting loose fruit. Women’s individual income levels in oil palm compare well with other commodity crop earnings in Papua New Guinea. For example, in 2001 the average weekly cocoa income for households growing cocoa was K55 (Omuru et al., 2001). From January to October this year, women at Hoskins have earned K16.2 million (OPIC data), averaging a weekly oil palm income of K109. The income earned by smallholder women in oil palm is a significant achievement in a country like PNG where men typically control the income earned from women’s labour in commodity crop production such as cocoa or coffee.

    Prior to the Mama Lus Fruit scheme in 1997 most loose fruit was left to rot on the ground in family oil palm plots as women refused to collect the fruit because their husbands who were paid by the company, did not give them a ‘fair’ share of the income. Women preferred to work on other activities where they had more control over the income – like producing and selling garden foods at local markets. The local agricultural extension services (OPIC) at Hoskins devised the Mama Lus Frut scheme after learning from women that loose fruit collection might be improved if the Milling Company paid them separately for this work on their family plots which would help overcome the unfair distribution of income within the family. OPIC began a trial of paying women separately and the Mama Lus Frut’ scheme was introduced within three months of the trial beginning because of the overwhelming interest and pressure from women to join the trial and obtain their own harvesting cards.

    The income women earn from their mama card has given them greater financial autonomy that enables them to better meet their needs and that of their families. Papua New Guinean women carry a large share of the responsibility for childcare, family welfare, household food production, supporting the extended family, and contributing to local church and community groups. The increased access to income has improved women’s capacity to meet these various responsibilities and obligations. The scheme continues to operate successfully: the new payment card has become known locally as the Mama Card, and the original payment card is now called the Papa Card: the new titles defining the ownership of the income. The Mama Card has now been adopted in other oil palm growing areas of PNG (at Popondetta, 90% of smallholder blocks have a Mama Card) and several female extension officers are now employed by OPIC. Rather than being a negative smallholder intervention as suggested by Ms Tan, the Mama Lus Frut Scheme offers a model for some other smallholder commodity crops where payments are typically made to male household heads.

    Finally, to conclude my response to Ms. Tan’s article I have reproduced below a statement made by the OPIC-Hoskins agricultural extension Lus Fruit Coordinator and the smallholder representative for ‘lus frut mamas’. As the following extract shows, in an attempt to link the mama lus fruit scheme with prostitution, Ms. Tan has also caused immense distress and shame to the oil palm smallholder women of PNG.

    Elizabeth Rawa (OPIC Lus Frut Mama Coordinator) and Elizabeth Warpin (Lus Frut Mama representative)
    Mama Lus Fruit Scheme long OPIC HOSKINS ikamapim blong helpim ol meri long rural area long mumutim lus frut. Mipela ol wok meri wantaim ol blok meri (10 mamas) bin wok bung na wok hat long mekim dispela scheme ikamap na nau klostu long 5000 meri igat mama card Hoskins Project.

    Lukluk igo bek long wanpela article, wanpela meri name bilong em Ms Lee Tan ibin mekim long namba 21 dei blong mun Novemba (PAPUA NEW GUINEA WOMEN AND OIL PALM).

    Mipela ol meri igat mama card, mipela ino hamamas na mipela igat bikpela kros tru long ol toktok dispela meri ibin mekim long mipela. Yu husait meri tru, yu wonem kain meri na yu mekim dispela ol kain toktok long mipela? Yu lukim wok blong mama lus frut long ai blong yu na mekim ol toktok o yu harim nabaot na mekim? Mipela ino ol Pamuk meri na salim bodi blong mipela long kisim lus frut.

    Ol dispela toktok yu mekim emi bagarapim culture na ibringim shame long mipela ol meri long PNG, WNB Province especially long “ HOSKINS PROJECT”

    Dispela wok blong mama lus frut scheme emi wanpela rot mipela ol meri ihamamas long en bikos emi helpim mipela wantaim ol family blong mipela long wanwan blok blong mipela na tu emi daonim pasin blong “ PAITIM MERI”

    Sapos yu laik mekim moni long ol kain article, comments or pepa olsem, yu mas kam long WNB long Hoskins Project na lukim stret long ai kiau blong yu:-

    1. how lus frut scheme iwok
    2. how ol meri ibenefit long en
    3. how ol meri isapotim family.

    The Mama Lus Frut Scheme at OPIC Hoskins was introduced to help all the women in the rural areas to collect lus fruit. Working women and block women (10 women) combined and worked hard to make this scheme grow to approximately 5,000 women who have a mama card, Hoskins project.

    We refer back to an article by a women, named Ms. Lee Tan written on the 21 November.
    Those of us women who have mama cards, we are displeased and very angry about what this women wrote about us. Who are you? What kind of women are you to say this about us? Have you seen the work of the mama lus fruit or do you just say what you hear from gossip? We are not prostitutes who sell our bodies to get lus fruit.

    These kinds of remarks you made discredit our culture and bring shame to us PNG women, especially WNB province Hoskins project.

    The mothers are happy about the work of collecting lus fruit because that’s one way of helping us and our family on our own blocks and it has also reduced domestic violence.

    If you want to make money from this kind of article, comments or paper, you must come to WNB, Hoskins project to see it with your own eyes.
    How the lus fruit scheme works.
    How all the women benefit from the scheme.
    How all the women support their families.

    Gina Koczberski, Curtin University of Technology, Perth. For further information email: g.koczberski@curtin.edu.au

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    2008 to be observed as Coconut Year

    From : The Hindu

    KERALA THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Agriculture Department and the Coconut Development Board would observe 2008 as Coconut Year. Programmes, including an international seminar and district-level meetings, would be organised during the year to remove apprehensions about the health effects of coconut oil and promote its consumption. These decisions were taken at a conference chaired by Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran and attended by cardiologists, experts and Agriculture Department and Board officials here on Tuesday. The Minister would lead a rally to be organised by the Board in Kochi on December 11 to promote use of coconut. Mr. Ratnakaran observed that the coconut cultivators would face hardships unless steps were taken to support the price of coconuts. Production and productivity of coconut had improved in the State. He said that campaigns against coconut that it caused heart diseases peaked during Onam season when the consumption rose. It was pointed out at the conference that the number of heart patients in the State was going up though the consumption of coconut oil had dropped. This showed that there was no correlation between heart diseases and consumption of coconut oil. Palmolein had been banned in the United States

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Solomon Islands Exports Taro To Australia

    From : Scoop

    Thursday, 29 November 2007, 9:36 amPress Release: Solomon Islands Government Alfred MaesuliaUnder SecretaryMinistry of Agriculture and Livestock

    Three tones of taro from the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal will be exported to Brisbane in Australia this Friday. Thanks to Mrs. Upu Kaukui of Salmoa Farm Produce who said the consignment would be her 3rd times to export taro to Australia. "I started with 800 kg of taro about a year ago and 1200 kg some months later," Upu Kaukui told agriculture officers who went to see preparation for the consignment in Ranadi, east of Honiara. Mrs. Kaukui, a Samoan who married to a Solomon Islander said she is looking at exporting yam and kong kong taro (karuvera) next year. She said the problem is that some crops, such as yam, are seasonal and they are available only during certain times of the year. The family business, Solmoa Farm Produce, is the first to penetrate the Australian market as far as marketing of taro is concerned.
    The owner of Solmoa Farm Produce, Mrs. Kaukui, said her agent in Australia is her brother.
    "Demand from our clients in Australia is beyond the 3,000 kg that we are ready to send this Friday on a cargo plane," Mrs. Kaukui explained. Salmoa Farm Produce is encouraging farmers to come forward if they have food crops such as taro, yam and kong kong taro. A local agent who collected taro from the Weather Coast said that the more than 3 tones of taro had come only from two villages. The agent said there were other villages in the weather coast of Guadalcanal which have large gardens of taro. Villagers, the agent said, were pleased to have access to easy market to sell their produces without going through the hard times to come to Honiara markets.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Body Shop excited by first purchase of organic coconut oil from the Pacific

    From : RZNI

    The multi-national cosmetic company, the Body Shop, says it is excited about its new venture with a community based project in Samoa.
    Samoa will export an initial shipment of 300 kilogrammes of organic coconut oil to the Body Shop in Britain this week.
    A Body Shop spokesperson, Nicky Tracey, says it’s a first.

    “We don’t have a lot of community trade programmes within the Asia-Pacific region and the Body Shop, globally, made the decision that they wanted to find an organic coconut oil source and if possible to source it from the Asia Pacific region. We are delighted that we have been able to start working with the community in Samoa.”

    Nicky Tracey says the oil, which is produced with the support of a Samoan NGO, Women in Business Development, will be used for a new product range to be launched next year.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Genetic techniques to speed tree improvement
    Glenn Howe & David Stauth

    From : Bend Weekly News

    Corvallis - A new move toward “marker based breeding” with economically important forest tree species is expected to improve and speed up the identification of trees with desirable traits – to achieve faster growth, drought resistance, wood quality or other useful characteristics.
    Forestry scientists at Oregon State University will collaborate with other leading forest research institutions around the nation on this project, which is being partly funded by a recent $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    The crux of the problem, experts say, is that trees take a very long time to grow, and conventional breeding with them is logistically complex, time consuming and expensive. The same types of cross-breeding and genetic advances that have been possible with many agricultural crops take much longer with conifer trees – it might take decades to learn if a particular tree or cross has any special value or not.
    “We’re really in just the second or third generation of breeding with a critical species like Douglas-fir,” said Glenn Howe, an associate professor of forest genetics at OSU. “We’ve made progress, probably a 25 percent increase in volume of wood produced, and that’s good. But there’s a great deal more we could do and we think that genetic markers will help us reach those goals more quickly and efficiently.”
    The idea, Howe said, is to better understand exactly what individual genes and their “alleles,” or different forms, are responsible for – what tree characteristics they control. Conceptually, it’s a little like the human genome project, in which an understanding of the genome helps medical researchers understand the diseases associated with certain genes. In plants, once genes have been mapped and their functions are understood, it should be possible to better select or combine the alleles that are responsible for desirable traits.
    These programs, researchers say, do not involve genetic engineering, which is the intentional change of genetic structure or introduction of novel genes into plants, and an approach that has also met significant public resistance and regulatory hurdles.
    The new type of “association genetics” resembles traditional crop selection and breeding, but with a more detailed understanding of what genes are involved and what they are doing. It’s like having a good road map, instead of driving aimlessly for 20 years until you happen across what you’re looking for.
    In a recently formed “Conifer Translational Genomics Network,” led by the University of California at Davis, OSU will do most of the studies on Douglas-fir, while scientists elsewhere in the nation study other important species such as loblolly pine and slash pine. Collectively, these are the backbone of a $50 billion forest products industry in the United States, and part of a global forestry enterprise estimated to be worth more than $350 billion a year. The value of tree products equals or exceeds that of every other U.S. crop, while healthy forests perform countless other environmental and ecological functions as well.
    “Fast growth and disease resistance is part of what we’ll be looking for, but in modern forestry a lot of the current interest is also in wood quality, things like density or stiffness,” Howe said. “Certain other characteristics might have value if wood is to be used for producing biofuels. And with the advent of climate change, we need to know more about which trees could adapt to changing conditions, such as temperature changes and drought.”
    Conifers actually have a very complex genome with a wide range of genetic variation, experts say, and should lend themselves well to this effort. Much of what is learned by focusing on the three conifer species of particular interest in the U.S. should also have value in other important conifers grown around the world.
    The national push in this field, Howe said, aims to have genetic markers incorporated into tree breeding programs within five years. The work will also have major educational and Extension components so that the findings can be spread to the tree breeding and forest products industry, which uses 1.3 billion seedlings every year to get the forests of the future off to a healthy start.
    In related work, OSU will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, University of Georgia and other universities to sequence thousands of genes from a diverse collection of conifers, including Douglas-fir.
    OSU is also participating in a new “Center for Advanced Forestry Systems” that is being organized by North Carolina State University under the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center Program. The center will develop projects ranging from ecology and biotechnology to remote sensing and improved silviculture.
    Taken together, these three new projects will contribute substantially to genomics research on Douglas-fir and its application to tree breeding and forest genetics in the Pacific Northwest.
    In all these efforts, students will be educated in the newest technologies, genetic techniques and other forestry innovations.
    Expanded forests, improvements in forest health and more efficient breeding of tree species could also allow for greater carbon sequestration and reduction in greenhouse gases, experts say.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007


    From : ISHS

    C.L.L. Gowda, H.D. Upadhyaya, M.A. Ghaffar
    Indigenous legumes, human nutrition, value-addition, commercialization


    Food legumes constitute a major crop group in the Asia-Pacific region because of their unique features including their role in human and animal nutrition, nitrogen fixation, adaptation to stress conditions, suitability to various cropping systems, and for overall sustainability of agricultural production systems. Most countries in the region have attained self-sufficiency in staple cereal crops production. However, the availability of legumes is low, and many countries are importing legumes costing huge amounts in foreign exchange. Dependence on a few legumes in production and market chain, and high demand has lead to increased price for legumes, and thus the poor rural and urban families cannot afford to eat legumes to the desired level (to meet protein needs). Only a handful of legumes are grown on large areas and enter commercial markets. There are many indigenous food legumes whose potential is under exploited and untapped. Many of these indigenous food legumes play a vital role in protein nutrition to poor farm families, especially to women and children, in the region. Looking at the total area cultivated and production, legumes such as soybean, groundnut, chickpea, lentil, common bean, field peas, chickpea, and pigeonpea can be considered as major legume crops. Other legumes that are indigenous and under-exploited are: Adzuki bean, bambara groundnut, blackgram, broadbean (faba bean), horsegram, lablab bean, lathyrus, moth bean, rice bean, and winged bean. Not all of them are indigenous (in the sense of origin), but have been cultivated in the region for more than 200-300 years. Hence, all these are considered indigenous for the purpose of this paper and their potential for expanding the food basket and commercialization in Asia-Pacific region is discussed.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Teaching good eating habits to reduce malnutrition and diet-related diseases
    FAO publishes planning guide for nutrition education in primary schools
    9 October 2007, Rome - Educating school children in healthy nutrition is one of the most effective strategies for overcoming malnutrition and chronic diet-related diseases but has been neglected far too long, FAO said today. The UN agency announced the publication of a new comprehensive guide for curriculum development addressing nutrition education in primary schools. “What many people don’t realize is that it is not only the amount of food, but the quality of a diet that has a critical effect on children’s growth, health and learning capacity. Eating is not just a biological process, it depends on learned habits and perceptions, on the cultural and social environment. This is why nutrition education is so important,” said Ezzeddine Boutrif, Director, FAO Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division.Good nutrition education can make children aware of how to achieve a nourishing diet with limited means; how to prepare and handle food safely and how to avoid food-related risks. As future parents, they will know about the benefits of breastfeeding and complementary feeding, and be able to educate their children to follow a diet that is well balanced and of good quality. “Teaching nutrition in schools can help reduce the costly impact of nutrition related diseases of future generations. Governments should make nutrition education a priority,” Boutrif added.Bad eating habits on the riseChronic diet-related diseases, such as excess weight and obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, are not restricted to rich countries. They are increasing around the globe as a result of new lifestyles and eating habits. Globally, 1.6 billion adults are overweight, and at least 400 million are obese. Two out of three overweight and obese people now live in low- and middle-income countries, with the vast majority in emerging markets and transition economies, according to the World Health Organization. ”Certainly, hunger and undernourishment remain a major problem for some 820 million people in developing countries that do not have the means to buy or produce sufficient good quality food,” said Peter Glasauer, FAO nutrition education expert. “But globalization and economic development have introduced new foods and altered dietary habits and lifestyle patterns in many developing countries as well. Migration from rural communities to urban areas, for example, is on the rise with less and less people producing their own food and the majority depending entirely on commercial food supply. Nutrition education in primary schools is an effective way of promoting good nutrition,” he added.The new guideThe new FAO guide for curriculum development is aimed at ministry officials, teachers, nutrition experts, health professionals and others involved in the planning of nutrition education programmes for primary schools. Although it also contains a section on the basics of healthy nutrition, the guide is not a teaching aid for nutrition education itself. It is a resource package comprising three elements: a book that explains the key ideas and processes in nutrition, health and education; a set of worksheets taking the user through the entire planning exercise; a classroom curriculum chart, providing learning objectives for nutrition education in primary schools in developing countries.The guide is available in English and French.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    “Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry”—new 2-year research project
    will promote farm diversification with specialty crops

    From : Permanent Agricultural Resources

    Specialty crops are a rapidly growing economic opportunity for farmers who are
    interested in diversifying their crops and who are willing to innovate their production
    methods, post-harvest processing, and marketing. The large global demand for farm and forest food, fiber and healthcare products presents markets that Pacific islanders are uniquely suited to fill. Noni and kava are examples of two important specialty crops that originated in the Pacific; coffee and vanilla are two valuable crops that originated outside the Pacific but have become highly valuable specialty crops in various Pacific regions. To support the vast potential for new Pacific island specialty crops, Farm and Forest Production and Marketing (FFPM) sheets for 32 crops are being developed to support the region’s participation in the world marketplace for high quality food, fiber, and healthcare products. The FFPM sheets will detail essential information for crop development: horticulture and botany, the roles for each crop in mixed-crop agroforestry, commercial products, product quality standards, location and size of markets, postharvest processing, opportunities for local value-added processing, and the potential for genetic improvement. The completed FFPM sheets will be available for free, unrestricted download in PDF format from http://www.agroforestry.net/. The FFPM sheets will be a valuable resource for Pacific island agricultural extension professionals as well as farmers. The sheets will provide extension-level, detailed information about new crops that are highly compatible with Pacific island agronomic conditions, suitable for agroforestry systems, and appropriate for local and export markets. These crops are “new” in the sense that they are underdeveloped, underutilized,
    or not well recognized for their commercial potential. Supporting local Pacific island
    agricultural extension professionals with current and detailed processing and marketing information for promising new crops for mixed-crop agroforestry systems will stimulate farm enterprise development while promoting sustainable land use.
    This project is funded by the USDA Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program . Opportunities for co-sponsors are available. For further project information, please visit or contact the project director Craig Elevitch,
    Permanent Agriculture Resources, PO Box 428, Holualoa, Hawaii 96725, Tel: 808-324-
    4427; E-mail: par@agroforestry.net.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment

    Obesity: Glycemia, insulinemia and thrifty genot ype aggra vate d by transformation of diet in the Fijians

    From : Jimaima V Lako
    In : General Practitioner Volume 15 Number 4 2007


    Shifting and transformation of diet or nutrition transition may be inevitable. It has been experienced all over the world including Fiji and the other Pacific regional countries. In
    Fiji, the pattern and the structure of nutrition transition has run in parallel with the incidence and high prevalence of overweight, obesity and nutritionally-related chronic diseases. Modification of diet, especially deviation from a traditional food pattern has affected the nutritional composition of meals both in quality and quantity. This transition in turn has affected the health status of individuals. Changes in composition of diets affects the nutritional environment that feeds the genetic system. Significant deviation of the nutritional intake away from what is genetically desirable is likely to contribute to fat disposition, obesity and nutritionally-related chronic diseases. This perhaps may be in the form of dedisposition of thrifty genotype and insulinemia in majority of individuals. It may appear that the changing dietary habits of Western civilisation, coupled with reduced physical activity may have compromised the complex homeostatic mechanism and thus disturbed the homeostatic system resulting in fat disposition which ultimately lead to weight gain. Obesity is now considered one of the major public health problems in the world. Its prevalence rates the world over, both in affluent and poor nations in all segments of population in young and old of both sexes, is increasing. The disease is sometimes regarded as “globesity” due its global epidemic trend. Like other developing countries with an increasing rate of urbanisation, Fiji has entered a phase of nutrition transition especially the change in food sources has contributed to the change in nutritional composition of meals. This leads to a gradual change in health status patterns;
    from a gradual increase in body weight to overweight, obesity and to prevalence of nutritionally
    related chronic diseases. Strategies that may help reduce the development, incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Fiji include the screening and diagnoses of liver dysfunction, syndrome x, glucose intolerance in order to develop some intervention programmes appropriate for such cases.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment


    From : Cenon

    The objectives of the workshop are to:

    · Assess and evaluate existing Agro Forestry activities in the northern Pacific region and formulate research and development programme for Agro Forestry System that would be suitable for each countries in the northern Pacific

    · Conduct training on plant propagation and other nursery practices including seed treatment and germination, potting and maintenance of seedlings, vegetative propagation/techniques, etc.)


    The workshop will be held at Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

    The workshop will be held from 26 – 30 November, 2007.

    The first day of the workshop will be set aside for the review and assessment of traditional agro forestry practices on member countries, country reports, technical presentations and discussion. The second day of the workshop shall be set aside for the formulation of a research and development programme on Agro Forestry for each participating countries in the northern Pacific. This will incorporate recommendations on future strategies, and possible regional projects for implementation. The third day will be on site visit of agro forestry farms and suitable sites within the vicinities of Pohnpei. The fourth and the fifth day will be set aside for hands on training on plant propagation techniques using the local facilities of the Forestry and Agriculture Department in Pohnpei.


    The workshop will be organized by the Forests and Trees Programme, Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and with co-funding support from the SPC/GTZ – Pacific German Regional Forestry Project.


    Participants will be from the nine (9) countries in the northern Pacific Island Countries and Territories (American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Republic of Nauru, Guam, the Marianas Islands and Tuvalu).

    Main target group will be extension officers? technical officers of the respective forestry/agricultural agencies who are currently involved in agro forestry and plant propagations in their countries and territories.

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment


    October 2002

    November 2002

    December 2002

    January 2003

    February 2003

    March 2003

    April 2003

    May 2003

    June 2003

    July 2003

    August 2003

    September 2003

    October 2003

    November 2003

    December 2003

    January 2004

    February 2004

    March 2004

    April 2004

    May 2004

    June 2004

    July 2004

    August 2004

    September 2004

    October 2004

    November 2004

    December 2004

    January 2005

    February 2005

    March 2005

    April 2005

    May 2005

    June 2005

    July 2005

    August 2005

    September 2005

    October 2005

    November 2005

    December 2005

    January 2006

    February 2006

    March 2006

    April 2006

    May 2006

    June 2006

    July 2006

    August 2006

    September 2006

    October 2006

    November 2006

    December 2006

    January 2007

    February 2007

    March 2007

    April 2007

    May 2007

    June 2007

    July 2007

    August 2007

    September 2007

    October 2007

    November 2007

    December 2007

    January 2008

    February 2008

    March 2008

    April 2008

    May 2008

    June 2008

    July 2008

    August 2008

    September 2008

    October 2008

    November 2008

    December 2008

    January 2009

    February 2009

    March 2009

    April 2009

    May 2009

    June 2009

    July 2009

    August 2009

    September 2009

    October 2009

    November 2009

    January 2010

    RSS Feed
    Alternative feed
    Contact Tevita


    Something new:

    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

    PestNet: For on-line information, advice and pest identification for the Pacific and beyond. Contact: Grahame Jackson.



    Pacific Mapper: For on-line mapping of point data over satellite images of the Pacific provided by Google Maps.



    DIVA-GIS: For free, easy-to-use software for the spatial analysis of biodiversity data.


    Locations of visitors to this page