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?



    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Hollow Victory: Enola Bean Patent Smashed At Last (Maybe)

    From : ETC Group
    The infamous Enola bean patent, first denounced by ETC Group eight years ago as a textbook case of biopiracy, was struck down yesterday (April 29, 2008) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. One of the most controversial plant patents in history, the effort to defeat it was unprecedented because it involved the United Nations and international plant breeding institutes.

    "Many people are calling the PTO's decision to reject the Enola bean patent a victory, but we're inclined to call it a travesty," said Hope Shand of ETC Group. "In essence, the U.S. patent system allowed the owner of a flagrantly unjust patent to legally monopolize markets and destroy competition - for close to half the 20-year patent term. And even now the patent owner could still appeal through the federal court system!"

    "Worse still, Mexican and U.S. farmers who suffered damages as a result of this unjust monopoly will never be compensated for their losses. Patent law has no mechanism to compensate farmers and indigenous peoples who are victimized by predatory patent abuses,"
    adds Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group's office in Mexico City.

    According to ETC Group, the eight-year patent challenge is, above all, an indictment of the patent system's ability to "correct" patent abuses. The request for re-examination of the patent was filed in December 2000. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office declared its preliminary rejection of the patent three years later. Using a series of bureaucratic delays and diversions, the patent owner was allowed to legally extend his exclusive monopoly on a Mexican bean variety for over 8 years.

    "We've seen protracted patent battles before. It was just last year that the European Patent Office struck down Monsanto's species-wide patent on all genetically modified soybeans - but it took an appeal and 13 years," said Kathy Jo Wetter of ETC Group. "The patent system is broken on both sides of the Atlantic," she adds.

    The Enola bean patent holds a special place in the "biopiracy hall of shame" because the patented yellow bean was proven to be genetically identical to an existing Mexican bean variety.(1) That's not surprising, because the patent owner, Larry Proctor, first got his hands on the yellow bean when he bought a bag of beans in Mexico.
    After securing his monopoly patent, Proctor accused Mexican farmers of infringing the patent (U.S. patent number 5,894,079) by selling yellow beans in the U.S. As a result, shipments of yellow beans from Mexico were stopped at the U.S./Mexican border, and Mexican farmers lost lucrative markets. In 2001 Proctor filed lawsuits against 16 small bean seed companies and farmers in the U.S., again charging patent infringement.

    Intergovernmental Patent Challenge
    In January 2000 ETC Group (then as RAFI) denounced the Enola bean patent as "Mexican bean biopiracy" and demanded that the patent be legally challenged and revoked. ETC Group requested that the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) investigate the patent as a violation of the CGIAR's 1994 Trust agreement that obliges them to keep designated crop germplasm in the public domain and off-limits to intellectual property claims.

    Agreeing with ETC Group, the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, a CGIAR center), with support from FAO, filed an official challenge of the predatory Enola bean patent in Washington, D.C. "We commend CIAT and FAO for taking this action, and for sticking with the 8-year patent challenge," said Pat Mooney of ETC Group. "Joachim Voss, CIAT's former director general, deserves special recognition for leading the patent challenge," notes Mooney.

    ETC Group warns that egregious monopoly patent claims on seeds, genes and traits are by no means a thing of the past. In the midst of a deepening world food crisis, with climate chaos as the backdrop - predatory patenting is a greater threat than ever. Please stay tuned.

    The Enola Bean Patent Reexamination Saga

    13 April 1999: Larry Proctor wins US Patent No. 5,894,079, "field bean cultivar named enola"
    15 January 2000: ETC Group denounces the enola bean patent as technically invalid and morally unacceptable http://www.etcgroup.org/article.asp?newsid=31
    20 December 2000: Request for Reexamination of US patent 5,894,079 (issued 13 April 1999) filed by CIAT http://www.etcgroup.org/article.asp?newsid=96
    30 November 2001: Proctor sues 16 small bean seed companies and farmers in Colorado for infringing his patent http://www.etcgroup.org/article.asp?newsid=282
    02 December 2003: USPTO's reexamination results in "Non Final"
    Rejection of Patent
    02 June 2004: Proctor submits 400+ page amendment to "Non Final"
    14 April 2005: USPTO issues "Final Rejection" of Patent
    14 October 2005: Proctor submits Request for Continued Examination of Patent
    21 December 2005: and issues another "Final Rejection" of Patent http://www.etcgroup.org/en/materials/publications.html?pub_id=41
    29 April 2008: USPTO's Board of Patent Appeals affirms the patent examiner's decision regarding the rejection of all standing claims in the Patent ????? - Will Larry Proctor appeal through the U.S. Federal Court system?

    For more information:

    Hope Shand and Kathy Jo Wetter, ETC Group (USA) hope@etcgroup.org kjo@etcgroup.org
    +1 919 960-5767 (office)

    Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group (Mexico) silvia@etcgroup.org
    +52 5555 6326 64

    Pat Mooney, ETC Group (Ottawa, Canada) etc@etcgroup.org
    +1 613 241-2267

    1) L. Pallottini, J. Kami, G. Barcaccia, P. Gepts, The Genetic Identity of a Patented Yellow Bean, a paper presented at the American Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting, Denver, November 2-5, 2003. The official results were published in the May/June 2004 issue of Crop Science, Pallottini et al., "The Genetic Anatomy of a Patented Yellow Bean," Crop Science, 44:968-977 (2004).

    * Comments:

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