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.
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