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?



    Wednesday, March 26, 2008


    From : Global Crop Diversity Trust

    Admit it. Together with a cup of coffee, the daily headlines – murders, wars, scandals and the like – pump us up. We are addicted to the drama of it all.

    We're not alone. Animal communication, as Prof. Ray Jackendoff of the Center for Cognitive Sciences at Tufts University observes, focuses on the immediate and pressing as well: food, danger, threat, reconciliation.

    Chimpanzees, born in captivity, react with terror upon first seeing a snake. No teaching, no learning required. Like other animals, we as a species are hard-wired to respond to imminent threat. Literally hard-wired, according to psychologist Stephen Pinker of Harvard University. We are programmed to react and react quickly to a punch being thrown in our direction, as well as to something that jumps out of the dark and startles us. We have reflexes, physical, mental and social.

    We are not hard-wired, it seems, to respond so quickly or appropriately to threats that are around the corner, regardless of their size, certainty or deadliness. Armies can be mobilized over night to counter threats, real or perceived. Climate change, on the other hand, engenders debate and careful consideration as if the biggest danger it poses lies in quick and decisive action. Mobilization takes time.

    Politicians dealing with crop diversity are similarly inclined to deal with immediate and flashy issues while underestimating the importance of even larger chronic problems. Focused on financial and legal matters, delegates to a recent meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources scarcely uttered the phrase "climate change". Lost in earnest discussions of "benefit sharing" was the fact that some 50% of crop diversity collections held in developing countries are in urgent need of rescue and regeneration after years of slow deterioration. The problem was first noted in 1996.

    A crop diversity crisis?

    Most unique samples could rot and die without an emergency or crisis being proclaimed. We don't immediately feel pain by not conserving crop diversity.

    Agricultural crises will occur (that's a certainty), but we will probably never have a "crop diversity crisis", because of the lag time between cause and effect. Today's oversights in caring for this resource provoke tomorrow's emergencies, but at most we are hard-wired only to deal with the latter.

    What would constitute a crisis or an emergency for crop diversity? Obvious answer: A big, valuable, unique collection could be wiped out.

    But wait; isn't this exactly what is happening? Consider the 50% regeneration figure cited above, based on data supplied by the countries themselves. We are losing diversity. The loss is just not happening quickly enough to be defined, like a punch being thrown at our face, as an imminent threat. That's the good news, I suppose. It's also the bad news.

    Hard choices are only made when no other options remain.

    For the moment, too many of us are still exploring the option of "business as usual". In international arenas, this manifests itself as old "us versus them" politics as countries jockey for position. They curse and cajole rather than collaborate.

    We will have reached a different plane in the decades-old debate over plant genetic resources when our bio-politicians recognize the threat around the corner and start to enunciate and support strategies for dealing with it - when they realize that positioning agricultural systems to provide food security in a climate changed world is the supreme benefit to be generated from crop diversity.

    In the plant genetic resources world, neither donor nor recipient is hard-wired to respond to unarticulated threats with unarticulated remedies. But in the absence of such a shared vision, political and financial support is inadequate. Should we be surprised?

    Clear and present danger

    This does not mean that threats and dangers are not out there, or that plans don't exist for dealing with them. By 2050, the world's population will increase by 37% to 9.2 billion, resulting in a commensurate need for more food. Rising incomes are likely to generate even greater demand. Currently yields of crops that the poor depend upon, such as roots and tubers (cassava, yam, sweet potato, taro) are on track to provide just a 29% increase by 2050, meaning that an already bleak situation will get worse. More frightening, that 29% does not factor in a changing climate and the multitude of additional challenges that will pose to agriculture.

    Producing more food will be especially challenging in developing countries, given the additional and negative impact climate change will have. Either we can cut the forests and bring more land into agricultural production - but at what cost? Or, we can try to increase crop yields on existing land. This cannot and will not be done without use of crop diversity.

    So here's the threat: 800 million malnourished today, and a very uncertain ability to feed those people, plus many more tomorrow, in an environmentally sustainable manner.

    What do we need to do with our collections of crop diversity to prepare for this?

    • Identify and secure existing diversity in facilities capable of conserving and distributing it, quickly;

    • Safety duplicate it in another genebank plus the Svalbard Global Seed Vault;

    • Screen it for traits plant breeders and farmers need now and are about to need, and develop information systems to help users identify and deploy these resources;

    • Guarantee funds to maintain a global system in which unique diversity is secured, and encourage countries to provide additional and adequate support to meet their specific national needs regarding conservation and use.

    In short, make absolutely sure crop diversity is as safe, as financially secure, and as readily available for use as it can be. Accomplish this and humanity will benefit immeasurably. In the long run, this is the contribution the Trust hopes to make to implementation of the International Treaty, and to humanity.

    Pinker and others think humans are hardwired not just to focus on present dangers but to cooperate. Who knows? If he is right, we should soon see some evidence in the field of crop diversity. Climate change and population growth are poised to throw a combination of punches that would impress even Mohammed Ali. But to escape those punches, we have to move now.

    Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Penguin. 2003.

    See the website of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: www.planttreaty.org

    The Trust has initiated a massive global initiative addressing virtually all of the bullet points printed above. For more information, visit our website: www.croptrust.org

    The Trust has moved into wonderful new offices overlooking the Circus Maximus at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, in Rome. We are grateful to FAO for their generosity and assistance.

    Finally, we say "thank you" and bid farewell to our colleague Brigitte Laliberté, who headed our work developing regional and crop conservation strategies. Brigitte assumes a new position as coordinator of the Global Public Goods initiative with the genebanks of the CGIAR, based at Bioversity International. We look forward to continuing to work closely with her!

    * 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