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, November 12, 2008
Posted 2:47 PM by Tevita
Weighing in on biofuels: alternative fuel source, or threat to food security?
From : SPC
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), will be hosting a regional biofuels workshop at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji, from 17–20 November 2008, to address the potential risks and opportunities provided by bioenergy production in the region
The Pacific Islands region is a potential area for biofuel production for transport and electricity generation. However, Pacific Island countries will need to strike the right balance between food and energy security, and ensuring sustainable livelihoods during the associated transformation of their energy and agricultural sectors.
The development of biofuels may potentially help Pacific Island countries cope with rising oil prices, reduce countries’ dependency on fossil fuels, provide sources of energy for rural electrification for outer island communities, and provide new sources of income to farmers. However, these potentials have to be explored fully and carefully.
However, biofuels could negatively impact food security and rural livelihoods in the Pacific. The evidence from biofuel development overseas is that producing price competitive biofuels depends upon plantations, rather than small holder farms. This can impact upon land tenure. In addition there is a risk that the use of foodstuffs, such as cassava, can either drive down the price farmers receive or divert a large proportion of staple production from food to fuel.
“Biofuels present the Pacific with a great opportunity to improve its energy security, by reducing dependence upon imported fuel,” says Tim Martyn of the Secretariat for the Pacific Community. “However achieving greater energy independence will require careful planning to strike a balance between the interests of farmers and consumers.”
This workshop will attempt to provide answers to these questions by:
• Evaluating the potential impacts of biofuels development on sustainable livelihoods and food security in the Pacific.
• Develop an understanding of the socioeconomic opportunities and threats presented by biofuels development and associated value-added products in the Pacific.
• Identify specific ways in which biofuels can contribute to increased energy security and improved income generating opportunities for Pacific Island communities.
• Promote policy dialogue on the impact of biofuels on both rural and urban income poverty.
For more information, please contact LRD helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tim Martyn on (679) 9084974.
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