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
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Posted 2:12 PM by Tevita
Chilling temperature destroys Southern China's bananas
From : Risbap Bulletin
As farmers and experts alike battle diseases that affect banana plantations across China, an unlikely enemy struck from nowhere: a ferocious weather condition that saw an unprecedented chilling rain and temperature destroying banana plantations in Southern China. It was a particularly serious blow to the Chinese banana industry, which just few years ago, was reported in the Asia Pulse News as one that would give the Philippines – ranked second in the world in terms of exports – a ran for its money. High hopes were directed to Chinese-grown banana to supply the local market and probably the export market. However, when the cold temperature started to descend upon southern China in early January this year, it brought home the message, that challenges for the industry go beyond pests and diseases. Or perhaps, this is already a warning about the destructive effects of climate change to agriculture?
The Chinese Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GDAAS) estimated the damage in the three provinces as that to have covered 70% of the production areas across the stretches of banana plantations in the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian. This is huge considering that about 75% of the total 280,000-hectare banana
production in China is in these provinces. With bananas normally growing best in warm conditions, banana plantations were dealt with a huge blow with the temperature, which GDAAS reported to have reached as low as 0.5 degrees Celsius, at some places, averaging at 12 degrees from early January to mid-February, this year.
The Chinese government tried to cushion the ill-effects of the low-temperature by establishing rescue groups, providing food supply to affected farmers as well as visiting plantations to help and instruct farmers on how to start planting again. To minimize the effects of the cold weather on newly-planted tissue cultured banana
plants, farmers covered their plot with plastic films. These plastic films, GDAAS says, help minimize the low temperature damage and to allow them to harvest at
high-price market months. In some areas, affected plants were cut down to allow new
suckers to develop. The farmers also harvest on-time, and encourage the emergence of new suckers by cutting off unwanted suckers. Proper fertilization was also mentioned
as one that helped tide the plantations over the month-long lowtemperature.
Dr. Agustin Molina, regional coordinator for Bioversity International Commodities for Livelihood- Asia-Pacific , met with Dr. Yi Ganjun, director of GDAAS' Institute of Fruit Tree Research, during the early part of the year, and saw first hand some of the devastations in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, including the mitigating measures that farmers undertook to rehabilitate the damaged banana crops. GDAAS mentioned that it was in 1999 when a similar weather condition struck China. (With reports from Dr. Yi Ganjun and Dr. Li Chunyu, GDAAS, China
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