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
Interested in GIS?
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Posted 2:14 PM by Tevita
New Pacific Partnership
South Pacific Odyssey, Part I
From : The World Vegetale Center
Dr. Dyno Keatinge (Director General) traveled to five Pacific Island nations,Australia and New Zealand to explore new partnerships and collaborations.
Dr. R. Ghodake, Director General of the Papua New Guinea National Agricultural esearch Institute (NARI) invited Dr. Keatinge to discuss potential projects along with other partners including the Fresh Produce Development Association (FPDA). Mr. A.K. Benjamin, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, noted that approximately 85% of the country’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods; he welcomed AVRDC’s initiatives to promote agricultural development,
especially for vegetables. Dr. Keatinge toured the NARI Dry Lowlands Research Station with Prof. Udai Pal and Dr. Rosa Kambuou, the country’s senior plant genetic resources specialist. A courtesy call was paid on Mr. Chen Shan-Lin, Representative of the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Papua New Guinea and a keen supporter of agricultural development through the Taiwan Technical Mission based
at Lae. Slippery cabbage (Abelmoschus manihot) goes by many names in the South Pacific, including aibika, bele, pele, and others. The germplasm diversity of this popular and nutritionally important indigenous vegetable is currently threatened, and it is hoped Center staff will be allowed to collect and preserve specimens in the AVRDC genebank. It will not be an easy task, as most current A. manihot
lines are propagated vegetatively. Green leafy vegetables are an important part of the local diet in PNG, but malnutrition remains an issue, as consumption of vitamin Arich foods is limited. Opportunities to grow vegetables abound in highland areas and NARI is successfully introducing new species to farmers in this region. However, getting the harvest to larger markets such as in Port Moresby is difficult due to a lack of appropriate infrastructure and refrigerated transport. Increasing crop diversity, germplasm preservation, improving postharvest handling, and market chain issues are all areas of future collaboration between AVRDC and PNG institutions.
Papua New Guinea Planning future partnerships: Prof. Udai Pal, NARI (far left); PNG Secretary of Agriculture Mr. A.K. Benjamin (third from left); Dr. Keatinge (fourth from left); NARI Director General Dr. R. Ghodake (fifth from left); members of senior ministries and the Fresh Produce Department Association. Dr. Rosa Kambuou (l) and Mr. Chen Shan-Lin (r) at Taiwan’s Trade Mission in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The Honorable Mr. Selwyn Riumana, Solomon Islands Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development, toured AVRDC HQ in Taiwan on 14-17 January 2009 and invited Dr. Keatinge for a reciprocal visit. Fierce Solomon Island warriors greeted the DG on the tarmac at Honiara International Airport—an event captured on the front page of
the daily newspaper, the Solomon Star News. Dr. Keatinge, Dr. Jaw- Fen Wang, AVRDC Global Theme Leader-Production, and Dr. Ravi Joshi, AVRDC senior scientist in the
Solomons, met the Prime Minister of the Government of the Solomon Islands, the Honorable Mr. Derek Sikua. Vegetable consumption is low in the Solomon Islands and malnutrition is a severe problem. A lack of seed, limited crop diversity, and
production difficulties are being addressed under AVRDC’s project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). All seed
available in the Solomons is imported hybrid seed from Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. It is difficult for farmers to obtain good seedling material of indigenous vegetables such as slippery cabbage; the project is collecting and preserving germplasm. Local NGOs such as Vois Blong Mere Solomons and the Kastom
Garden Association have been staunch project supporters; through their excellent network, more than 650 women turned out to attend a talk by Dr. Keatinge on the
importance of vegetables in combating malnutrition in children. The talk was given at the Taiwanese Technical Mission HQ in Honiara through the good offices of His
Excellency Mr. George Chan, Taiwanese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, and Mr. David Huang, the leader of the mission. The following day Mr. Chan and Dr.
Keatinge addressed a gathering of more than 200 secondary school children touring vegetable plots at the Kastom Garden Association HQ. Organic farmer Mr. Joini Tutua, a well-known figure in the Solomons, gave the tour. All the women and schoolchildren
took home an eggplant seedling and seed of yard-long bean, both of which have been successful AVRDC introductions to the Solomons. This well-planned giveaway also made
headlines in the Solomon Star News.
In Fiji, Dr. Keatinge consulted with the new ACIAR Regional Representative for the South Pacific, Dr. Richard Markham. ACIAR’s generous support funds our current Solomon Islands project. AVRDC also proposed an agreement for collaboration with
the Secretariat of the South Pacific Community and their network of 22 South Pacific states. The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Dr. Aleki Sisifa, Director of the SPC Land Resources Division. The agreement gives AVRDC formal status for collaboration with SPC’s Regional Germplasm Center and other associated germplasm networks such as the Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN). The Regional Germplasm Center has good skills in tissue culture and genetic resources, which are coordinated by Dr. Mary Taylor and Mr. Tevita Kete.Dr. Keatinge visited the
Fijian National Agricultural Research Station in the Sigatoka Valley. This beautiful
location, the vegetable production center of Fiji, was ground zero of the devastating banana disease, black sigatoka, which swept the world and brought severe
hardship to communities in sub- Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Vegetable introductions from AVRDC in collaboration with the Fijian NARS and the Taiwan
Technical Mission are faring well in this region.
* Comments:Post a Comment
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.