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

    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

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