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, February 08, 2009

    Climate resilience at Africa’s grassroots

    From : ASNS News

    Sunday, 08 February 2009
    Rural Africans are observing clear trends in local climate across a range of environments from humid to semi-arid.

    They are already adapting to climate change with or without external support.

    This information is contained in a paper written by Sonja Vermuelen and Duncan Macqueen of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Everhart Nangoma (EU), Krystel Dossou, Organisation des Femmes pour la gestion de l’Energie, de l’Environnement et la promotion du Développement Intégré (OFEDI-Benin) and Dominic Walubengo (Forest Action Network-Kenya).

    They say that for communities dependent on natural resources, adaptation involves a mix of technical solutions (such as different crops or planting patterns) and institutional solutions (such as new means of sharing information).

    Local adaptations include responses to specific trends (such as fishing with finer-meshed nets), but also building of capacity and resilience say through savings groups and diversified agriculture to cope with future uncertainties.

    Supporting local initiatives and institutions may be the most effective way to support climate change adaptation.

    Climate change is often seen as a global problem demanding global solutions. But for poor people hit hard by the impacts, climate change is a not a boardroom abstraction, but day-to-day reality.

    Faced with local shifts in weather patterns and natural resources, they are forced to find ways of coping that are locally relevant.

    This kind of experience, gained at the grassroots, boosts resilience as no top-down initiative can. Three case studies from rural communities in Benin, Kenya and Malawi show how it is done.

    “For communities that cope across Africa, climate change could herald lean and thirsty times. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that by 2020, yields from rain-fed agriculture in some countries could halve, and agricultural production and access to food may be severely compromised. Up to 250 million Africans could face water shortages,” the authors write. In the face of such shifts, what builds resilience and capacity to cope?

    Three case studies from rural communities in very different ecological contexts — in Benin, Kenya and Malawi — reveal a range of responses.

    But generally, all these communities have adjusted to an increasingly volatile environment with a two-pronged approach: using available natural resources more efficiently and raising capacity to cope with unpredictable future changes.

    People in the three communities have observed significant changes in their local climates — in particular, more variability in the intensity and seasonality of rainfall.

    Data from local meteorological offices partially support these observations, but have yet to demonstrate statistically significant trends.

    In all the case studies, growing seasons were found to be less predictable and available surface water less abundant than two or three decades ago.

    These changes are partly due to changing local climates. Meanwhile, growing human populations and large-scale land use change, such as the spread of industrial plantations, add to environmental pressures that could, for instance, affect water availability.

    People’s adaptations to environmental change combine technical fixes (such as faster-maturing crop species and varieties) with institutional support, via social networks and more formal organisations.

    "For some years, when rains begin, rains suddenly interrupt for more than two weeks; seeds are unearthed by rats, and consumed by bugs. Some years, seeds germinate and with the irregular rains, small plants can’t grow.’

    During a field visit to Benin in July last year that was sponsored by Media21 of Geneva, Switzerland, farmers observed that climate change appeared about 20 years ago, when after three relatively stable decades, weather patterns shifted and the rains began to come later.

    In most of Benin, people’s livelihoods depend on careful management of agricultural biodiversity.

    For many generations people have fished, harvested wild produce from forests and mangroves, kept pigs, and grown crops of maize, cassava, beans, peanuts, leafy vegetables, palm and coconuts.

    Some of the swamp forests have dried out. At the same time there have been other major changes in the country, such as significant expansion in large-scale plantations.

    How have people been responding to perceived changes in rainfall and natural resources? The authors of the publication report that fishers reported using finer-meshed nets in the drier rivers, while acknowledging that the practice exacerbates local fish shortages.

    People have also started to plant fast-growing crops in the dried-out areas of swamp forest to ensure they gain a harvest within the shorter reliable growing season.

    Many have switched from building with local afitin logs to using concrete pylons as a way of cutting down on wood use while simultaneously building flood resistance.

    To boost people’s environmental capacity and resilience, local organisations have drawn on cultural traditions.

    They have adopted the local practice of using songs and dance, proverbs and riddles to share knowledge about sustainable management of agrobiodiversity in the face of today’s threats.

    It was also observed during the field trip in Julyby this writer that many farmers have switched to growing bio-diesel plants like Jatropha curcas.

    They said that they can get two crops of the plant in a year where they can get only one of maize “These days we do not know what is happening. Either there is too much rain or none at all. This is not useful to us. When there is too much rain, the floods that result cause us harm. When there is not enough rain, the dry conditions do us harm,” says Mama Fatuma, a butcher and long-term resident of Njoro Division in Rift valley, Kenya.

    The semi-arid forest of Njoro Division lies on the eastern edge of the Mau Complex, Kenya’s largest wooded area that is at the centre of a major controversy following a decision by the Kenya Government to evict people from the forest after years of severe deforestation and encroachment

    Until about 10 years ago, the people of Njoro depended on saw-milling, farming and cattle. Now they have diversified into selling firewood, charcoal and water.

    The population has grown during this time, and agriculture has expanded into the forest.Njoro’s people observe that rainfall has become much more unpredictable.

    Water resources have changed dramatically: perennial rivers have become seasonal and boreholes have dried up or become saline.

    Echoing Mama Fatuma’s remarks, university lecturer Geoffrey Tunya, who has lived in Njoro for over 30 years, said, ‘Rain does not come regularly and when it does, it comes in torrents. There are extended droughts. Rivers are drying.’

    “The change in climate is confusing farmers in Njoro, but they have formulated an array of adaptive strategies. They are switching from wheat and potatoes to quick-maturing crops such as beans and maize, and planting any time it rains because there is no longer a regular growing season. People plant fewer live hedges, because they grow too slowly, but are planting more trees on their farms in the hope that these will ‘attract rain’. Cattle keepers who used to rely on farm-grown fodder now take their livestock to remote pastures,” says Walubengo.

    He adds that community groups have built rain-harvesting tanks and set up savings groups. Local government agencies are restricted by their top-down policy remits, but nonetheless have proven helpful to farmers and foresters in recommending new species and new cultivation techniques to cope with the new climate.

    “From January to June every year, there were heavy rains in Mulanje and the hot dry season lasted from August till October, when the first rains, known as chizimalupsya [the fire extinguisher], started.

    Chizimalupsya no longer precedes the main rains since the rainy season starts late, sometimes as late as December. June and July were extremely cold months with frequent fogs, but it is now difficult to tell between the cold and hot seasons. Many rivers that rise from Mount Mulanje never dried up, most of them with large pools; they are frequently drying now as early as June,” says R. Seveni, long-term resident, Mulanje District Malawi’s Mulanje District borders the conservation area of the Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve.

    In this region of montane forest, locals make a living from cultivating tiny plots of land, typically smaller than 0.1 hectare.

    They supplement this by selling forest produce. Local population growth, however, is increasing pressure on the land and natural resources.

    Fields are encroaching on the forest reserve, and rivers are silting up due to high run-off from the new agricultural plots.

    The people of Mulanje have noted major changes in recent decades, particularly in the seasonality of rainfall and temperature, as pointed out by Seveni.

    Local meteorological data are not sufficiently detailed to back up these observations, but do suggest an upward trend in mean annual temperature in recent decades. The late rainy season has meant changes in the agricultural calendar.

    Farmers have switched to fast-maturing cultivars of favoured crops. These are expensive, and also represent a threat to local landraces. But there is a positive side to the adaptations.

    Farmers are now planting a minimum of two crops in their gardens, mixing cereals with pulses and tubers, often intercropping with nitrogen-fixing pigeon peas.

    Diverse crops and relay-cropping through the rainy season are effective means of ensuring at least some harvest.

    Community organisations have also developed partnerships with the local tea industry and development NGOs to manage wetlands, construct small-scale irrigation and experiment with wood-efficient stoves.

    For further information see also;

    Community Based Adaptation Exchange (www.cba-exchange.org)The Coordination Unit for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (Malawi) (www.mca.edu.mw/enviro/ ngo/cure/index.html) Forest Action Network (Kenya) (www.fankenya.org)Organisation des Femmes pour la gestion de l’Energie, de l’Environnement et la promotion du Développement Intégré (Benin) (www.benin.africa-web.org)Further reading:Full country studies at www.iied.org/NR/forestry/forestsandclimatechange.html IPCC (2007) Fourth Assessment Report (see www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-syr.htm).

    * Comments:

    Post a Comment


    October 2002

    November 2002

    December 2002

    January 2003

    February 2003

    March 2003

    April 2003

    May 2003

    June 2003

    July 2003

    August 2003

    September 2003

    October 2003

    November 2003

    December 2003

    January 2004

    February 2004

    March 2004

    April 2004

    May 2004

    June 2004

    July 2004

    August 2004

    September 2004

    October 2004

    November 2004

    December 2004

    January 2005

    February 2005

    March 2005

    April 2005

    May 2005

    June 2005

    July 2005

    August 2005

    September 2005

    October 2005

    November 2005

    December 2005

    January 2006

    February 2006

    March 2006

    April 2006

    May 2006

    June 2006

    July 2006

    August 2006

    September 2006

    October 2006

    November 2006

    December 2006

    January 2007

    February 2007

    March 2007

    April 2007

    May 2007

    June 2007

    July 2007

    August 2007

    September 2007

    October 2007

    November 2007

    December 2007

    January 2008

    February 2008

    March 2008

    April 2008

    May 2008

    June 2008

    July 2008

    August 2008

    September 2008

    October 2008

    November 2008

    December 2008

    January 2009

    February 2009

    March 2009

    April 2009

    May 2009

    June 2009

    July 2009

    August 2009

    September 2009

    October 2009

    November 2009

    January 2010

    RSS Feed
    Alternative feed
    Contact Tevita


    Something new:

    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

    PestNet: For on-line information, advice and pest identification for the Pacific and beyond. Contact: Grahame Jackson.



    Pacific Mapper: For on-line mapping of point data over satellite images of the Pacific provided by Google Maps.



    DIVA-GIS: For free, easy-to-use software for the spatial analysis of biodiversity data.


    Locations of visitors to this page