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, August 27, 2008
Posted 9:48 PM by Tevita
Agriculture ministers meet to tackle global food crisis, food security
From : SPC LRD
Rising global food prices have made imported food, particularly basic items, very expensive for Pacific Island households. Already we are seeing an increase in poverty levels. In the last two years, the cost of a kilogram of flour increased from ST 1.54 to 3.04 in Samoa and a kilogram of rice from PGK 2.40 to 3.70 in Papua New Guinea. Similar scenarios are happening right across the Pacific. In Solomon Islands, the price of imported food increased by 26% over the first six months of 2008. Prices are expected to remain high in the foreseeable future.
In many parts of the world, riots have occurred as a result of the high cost of food. As is often the case, the poorest are affected most because they spend more of their income on food – up to 70%. If the food bill gets too high, they are forced to buy cheaper, less nutritious food or to cut down on living costs, for example, by not sending their children to school. What can be done to ensure Pacific communities are able to put healthy and nutritious food on the table now and in the future? Strengthening local food production is an obvious part of the solution to this global problem, but this has to be achieved and sustained at a time when farmers are also facing the challenges of climate change.
These two major issues – food security and climate change – will be high on the agenda of back-to-back meetings of Pacific Heads and Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Services, 3– 5 and 8–9 September, respectively, in Apia, Samoa. The Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services meet every two years with the outcome of their discussions guiding the work programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Land Resources Division (LRD). The meetings in Samoa are timely with the topics being considered very much in line with the recommendations of the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting. Close to 100 regional and international delegates will attend the two meetings, which are organised by LRD in collaboration with the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the meeting hosts.
A draft LRD strategic plan for the 2009–2012 period, which was developed with the participation of stakeholder representatives, will be presented to the meeting for discussion and endorsement.
The resolutions that come out of the first meeting will be presented to ministers for their endorsement. The resulting recommendations will form part of the communiqué of the ministers at the conclusion of their Second Regional Conference. This document will then provide the basis of the LRD work programme.
‘Aleki Sisifa, LRD Director, in the lead up to the regional meetings said. ‘At no other time in the history of regional meetings on land, agriculture and forestry in the Pacific islands, has there been such a convergence of serious emerging global issues affecting the sectors, and deliberation of how to tackle them at regional, subregional and national levels. Work to secure the resources needed to implement the new LRD strategic plan to address these issue will begin in earnest after the meetings.’
The high-level meetings will be held at the new Development Bank building in Apia. The USP School of Agriculture and Food Technology will host official delegates at an evening function at Alafua, where school officials will make a presentation on the development of curricula for agricultural diplomas and degrees.
Our vision: To improve food security, increase trade and assist the Pacific Community to be more prosperous and healthy and manage its agricultural and forest resources in a sustainable way
SPC’s Land Resources Division includes seven thematic-area teams and three support teams. The current thematic areas are: forest and trees, genetic resources, forestry and agriculture diversification, plant health, biosecurity and trade facilitation, animal health and production, and crop production. Three LRD groups provide support across the thematic area teams: information, communication and extension (ICE Group), agriculture and forestry land use, and administration. LRD has developed an integrated work plan and budget which is used as the basis for implementation and monitoring of LRD country activities as well as for reporting.
The Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) is the leading regional body that provides guidance to LRD work plans. The two-yearly HOAFS Meeting examines and endorses the LRD’s work plans and budget. The office of the LRD Executive acts as the Secretariat for HOAFS.
For more information on LRD activities, please visit our website www.spc.int/lrd or email us, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.