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, June 24, 2009
Posted 9:57 PM by Tevita
International consultation to chart way forward for Pacific coconut industry
Thursday, 18 June 2009
From : SPC
A roundtable on increasing trade in Pacific coconut products is being held over 17–18 June in Fiji. The Asia Pacific Coconut Community-SPC Roundtable will discuss the latest trends in coconut processing and market prospects.
During the official opening of the meeting, the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division, Mr ‘Aleki Sisifa, acknowledged the political support of the governments of Fiji and Samoa and welcomed the Hon. Joketani Cokanasiga, Fijian Minister of Primary Industries, and Hon. Taua Kitiona, Samoa Minister for Agriculture. The meeting is being held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.
Mr Sisifa said that the Pacific region was experiencing unprecedented and accelerating change, with the population of Pacific island countries and territories having more than doubled over the last 50 years.
“We have made our voices heard in international forums about the real threat of losing land, even whole islands, to sea level rise, and the potential for increasingly extreme events associated with climate change,” Mr Sisifa said.
He said land degradation and associated floods and soil erosion had resulted in serious siltation of rivers and coastal areas. Soils were becoming more saline, drier, poorer in nutrients and richer in pests as fallow periods shortened.
“People farm on steeper and more marginal land as industries and settlements are opened up on arable land. More than 70% of our bio-diversity has been eroded over the past 50 years.”
‘However, the coconut provides a sustainable and calming influence. It has been with us since we settled these islands and continues to be a distinctive characteristic of the Pacific landscape.’
“The coconut has always been, still is, and will continue to be regarded as the “Tree of Life” because of its multiplicity of uses. Its leaves, fruits, stems and roots provide shelter, food, handicrafts and other cultural and traditional uses, as well as income for communities living in rural areas and outer islands.”
Mr Sisifa said that the coconut forms the basis of robust and sustainable multilayer farming systems that have been developed in Pacific countries and territories over generations. Intercropping of coconuts with food and cash crops and running cattle and small animals under coconuts have proven to be sustainable types of land use suited to the geographic, climatic and socio-economic conditions of Pacific Islands.
Research and development on the coconut has been occurring since the colonial days. More recently, the focus has been on their cultivation and maintenance.
Helping countries and territories to increase their export trade is a new area of focus for SPC with work being carried out through its European Union funded FACT (Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade) project.
Mr Sisifa expressed SPC’s gratitude to the European Union for this assistance.
The FACT project aims to sustainably increase the quality and range of exports of Pacific agriculture and forestry products, and to contribute to the integration of the 14 Pacific ACP countries into the regional and global economy.
The meeting, which is being attended by 100 participants from around the region, will end with participants charting a way forward for the region’s coconut industry.
Posted 9:53 PM by Tevita
14th Australasian Plant Breeding & 11th SABRAO Conference:
REGISTRATION CLOSING SOON!
Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, AUSTRALIA
10-14 August 2009
Combined meeting of the 14th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference (APBC) &
11th Congress of the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and
The tropics are home to more than 50% of the world’s population and 80% of its
biodiversity. Tropical nations are growing at an unprecedented rate, between 5 and
10% annually, and food security and sustainable livelihoods are becoming
increasingly the most critical challenges facing the tropics. This conference brings
together international experts working to overcome these challenges, while focusing
on a main theme of “Contemporary Crop Improvement — A Tropical View.”
The conference will further focus on the following key themes:
Environmental challenges and opportunities
Food security for the Tropics
Tools for the Future (including Education and Training)
Tropical Livelihoods (including Healthy Foods and R&D Investment)
For more information and to register for the conference, please contact the conference managers:
T: +61 7 3858 5515
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Posted 2:20 PM by Tevita
Pacific region joins global system for conserving and using plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
From : SPC
Wednesday, 16 June 2009, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands — Recognizing that international cooperation and open exchange of genetic resources are both essential for food security, the Pacific region has placed the collections held by the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) in the Multilateral System of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).
The Hon. Taua Kitiona, Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture, representing other ministers and the region, attended the 3rd Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA in Tunis, and in the opening ceremony on 1 June formally placed these collections into the treaty system.
With the ITPGRFA, crops that produce our food – breads, curries, tortillas – are put into a common pool. The treaty facilitates access to those crops for all users and ensures fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use.
The ITPGRFA is a global treaty for food security and sustainable agriculture, and is vital for ensuring the continued availability of the plant genetic resources that countries need to feed their people. Crop diversity is an essential tool for generating crop varieties that can help farmers manage climate change. Like all other nations of the world, Pacific Island countries and territories do not have enough crop diversity within their borders to sustain productive systems.
Outbreaks of new pests and diseases can wreak havoc with crops that do not include resistant varieties. This was dramatically illustrated in Samoa in the early 1990s when taro leaf blight totally destroyed taro production because of the susceptibility of the cultivar being used. Climate change is likely to bring other similar challenges.
In 1996, to address these challenges, Pacific Ministers of Agriculture attending a meeting hosted by SPC resolved to put in place policies and programmes to conserve, protect and use their plant genetic resources effectively for development. In response, SPC established a regional genebank in 1998, now known as the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT).
SPC’s work on genetic resources has not stopped with the establishment of the genebank. An active network – PAPGREN – was established in 2004 to strengthen capacity in the region for conservation and utilisation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Much has been achieved by both the Centre and PAPGREN in raising awareness of the importance of crop diversity in the region, especially in light of current challenges.
In their second regional conference in Samoa in 2008, Pacific Ministers and Heads of Agriculture and Forestry acknowledged that although the Pacific has significant diversity, there is no assurance that national biodiversity will be sufficient to sustain food production in the future, especially given the projected effects of climate change. The region must be able to access the global pool of genetic diversity, which can be achieved through ratification of the treaty. At the same time, the ministers also saw the importance of putting in place mechanisms to establish the key collections of the Pacific within the global system, enabling the region to contribute to global food security and be part of a global network that will support the sustainable conservation and use of these collections in the future.
“The signing of these agreements by SPC has been fully endorsed by the Pacific region, recognising we live in one world despite the miles between us. To survive the many challenges of this century, we need to work together, sharing our resources and importantly further recognising that the genetic diversity found in genebanks today may become the most important resource we have in shaping an effective response to climate change,” said the Hon. Taua Kitiona in his address to the governing body of the Treaty.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 2:02 PM by Tevita
Global Crop Diversity Trust enters into longterm
grant agreement with Secretariat of the Pacific Community to safeguard collections of yam and edible aroids. The agreement comes into effect as the Secretariat signs International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and places collection into the Treaty’s multilateral system.
ROME, ITALY (June 4, 2009) - The Global Crop Diversity Trust recently entered
into a grant agreement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to
provide USD 50,000 annually, in perpetuity, towards the long-term conservation of
the important collections of yam and edible aroids (taro) held in-trust by the Centre
for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) on behalf of the Pacific region. This is the first long-term grant provided by the Trust to a collection outside the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The Trust and SPC are very
enthusiastic about this partnership and what it means for the sustainable conservation and utilisation of the region’s important crop diversity, and therefore food and nutritional security and economic growth in the Pacific region. The importance of crop diversity to sustainable development in the Pacific region is becoming more and more apparent, especially as farmers try to maintain and improve food production in the face of a changing climate.
SPC is highly committed to the long-term conservation of its region’s crop diversity.
A significant amount of funding has been made available for the construction of a
new storage centre, which will provide excellent facilities for long-term conservation of plant genetic resources. The centre will open in September 2009.
The grant agreement with the Trust came into effect when SPC member countries
signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
in April 2009, an event manifested by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for
Samoa who symbolically placed the Pacific collections (held in-trust by SPC) into the
multilateral system of the Treaty in Tunis on June 1. “The signing of these agreements by SPC has been fully endorsed by the Pacific region, recognizing we live in one world, despite the miles that often exist between us all, and to survive the many challenges of this century we need to work together, sharing our resources and importantly further recognizing that the genetic diversity found in genebanks today may become the most important resource we have in shaping an effective response to climate change“, says Minister Afioga‐Taua Tavaga Kitiona Seuala in his address to the governing body of the Treaty. The germplasm will thus now be made available by SPC to the international community in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Treaty
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.