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?



    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Time to count the burden of foodborne disease

    Arie Havelaar

    From : SciDev.Net

    Many people suffer or die from foodborne disease each year — but how many? Arie Havelaar believes a WHO initiative will find out.

    Foodborne disease outbreaks make the news daily. We can assume that billions of people fall ill every year, and that many die, because they ate food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals. But no-one has ever quantified the problem comprehensively. Indeed, we have only a sketchy idea of how many people suffer from foodborne diseases every year, or the economic damage they cause.

    The recent reports of melamine-contaminated milk powder in China remind us that foodborne illnesses can hit at any time and anywhere. Over 50,000 children in China suffered kidney problems and four died from drinking the contaminated milk powder, which was also exported to dozens of countries. There is no telling how many more victims we will see over the coming months.

    Wide spectrum

    We usually associate foodborne diseases with diarrhoea or vomiting, but they cause hundreds of illnesses. Their wide spectrum encompasses well-publicised ones, such as salmonellosis, avian flu and variant Creutzfeld-Jacob-Disease, but also less well-known ones, such as contamination by aflatoxin in peanuts, pistachios and other nuts as well as milk or methylmercury in fish, which can cause neuro-developmental disorders.

    The real tragedy of these diseases is played out in developing countries, where people are more exposed to hazardous environments, poor food production processes and handling, inadequate food storage and hygiene during food preparation, and poor regulatory standards.

    The tropical climate of many developing countries also helps pests and naturally occurring toxins proliferate, and people in these regions are at higher risk of contracting parasitic diseases. When people are malnourished, or living with HIV/AIDS, their immune systems are less able to fight foodborne diseases. And in severe famines, there is also an understandable reluctance to discard contaminated or spoilt food.

    Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases, a considerable proportion of which probably came from food. But the real death toll from across the spectrum of foodborne disease, is likely to be much higher.

    Economic impacts

    Beyond these health impacts, foodborne diseases also affect economic development, and particularly challenge agricultural, food and tourist industries.

    Developing countries' access to food export markets depends on their ability to meet the World Trade Organization's regulatory requirements. Unsafe exports can cause severe economic losses. For example, in early 2008, Saudi Arabia refused Indian poultry products valued at nearly US$500,000 following a bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.

    Developing countries need to make significant investments in food safety prevention and control efforts, and the international community also needs to help.

    A first step must be accurately assessing the number of people affected world-wide. But given the complexity and variety of diseases transmitted through food, and the paucity of data available at a country level, no public health agency has so far dared to tackle this herculean task.

    While some international efforts are underway to estimate the burden of specific foodborne illnesses, such as the International Collaboration on Enteric Burden of Illness Studies, the complete picture of all relevant diseases remains unfinished.

    In 2007, the WHO launched an international initiative to fill in the gaps. The WHO Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases aims to quantify how many people die from or are affected by all major foodborne causes each year. It hopes to report by 2011. The initiative operates through an expert group, the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), that includes scientists from all regions of the world and all areas of food safety, as well as professionals from policy and regulatory bodies.

    Global atlas of disease

    FERG plans to collect and summarise existing scientific data on foodborne disease and mortality into a global atlas. It will also train people from developing countries and help them conduct their own national studies to estimate and monitor the burden of disease from unsafe food.

    The group invites stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental organisations, industry, consumer groups, donors and scientific media to get involved, open new communication channels and explore how the initiative can best achieve its aims.

    The WHO will welcome involvement in this effort to count the millions affected by these entirely preventable diseases. Could you help provide the much-needed epidemiological yard-stick of death and disability against which progress can be measured?

    The next FERG stakeholder meeting is scheduled for 20 November, in Geneva, Switzerland. If you are a professional working with development issues, you should have it in your calendar.

    Arie Havelaar is chair of the WHO's Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group.

    For further information on the FERG stakeholder meeting please email kuchenmullert@who.int. For further information on the entire Initiative, please email foodsafety@who.int

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