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
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Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
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Thursday, January 07, 2010
Posted 12:19 PM by Tevita
American Samoa : Governor establishes Food Policy Council by executive order
From : Samoanews
By Fili Sagapolutele firstname.lastname@example.org
Through an executive order, Gov. Togiola Tulafono established the American Samoa Food Policy Council, which will advise the governor on all aspects of the food system in the territory.
Creation of the council comes on the heels of the “ASIASIGA: a Conference on Food Security in American Samoa” held in February this year in which several issues were discussed including the direction of the future of food security and self-reliance in American Samoa.
It was at the conference that participants supported the establishment of the council because there is a need to strengthen food security in American Samoa. Given the territory’s vulnerability to risk factors related to the Territory’s geographic isolation, the limited opportunities to expand export earnings, declining land available for agriculture, the price of oil and dependency on imported food, it was considered essential.
According to the governor, a territorial food policy that is designed to produce a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply must also balance economic, environmental, political and social considerations important to the people of the Territory.
Additionally, there is a need for a lead entity to give sustained attention to food and nutrition issues in a comprehensive manner.
The executive order states that the council advises the governor on all aspects of the food system in American Samoa with the overall objective to advise on the critical issue of access to good nutrition for all the people of American Samoa under all conditions.
Such advice shall include the territory’s baseline agricultural and fisheries production output; vulnerability of the Territory to food and nutritional insecurity because of the many risk factors; importance of food safety; the need to stockpile food supplies and seeds of essential crops; and the need to identify gaps in the territory’s emergency preparedness with respect to food security.
Additionally, rates of non-communicable diseases in American Samoa and their link to food and nutrition; strategies to promote local foods and engage young people; and the importance, in connection with food security, of protecting and maintaining our natural resources such as water quality, soil conservation, forestry health, air quality, and coral reefs will be included.
The council membership shall include, at the Governor’s discretion, the directors or their official designees from the American Samoa Community College (represented by the Director of the Land Grant program), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, the Department of Health, the Department of Commerce, the President of the American Samoa Farmers’ Co-operative, and the Governor’s Senior Policy Advisor.
Within the Council are seven working groups: Basic Food Supplies; Nutrition and Health; Special Needs; Food Safety; Emergency Preparedness; Legislation group; and Monitoring and Reporting. The executive order outlines the functions of each working group.
Each group’s jurisdiction may be construed broadly enough to allow for the inclusion of other issues related to the group’s purview and to ensure that each issue is properly addressed, according to the executive order, adding that members may be drawn from the community in accordance with any special interests.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The director of the Land Grant program chairs the council, who elects their vice chair. Staff of the departments cited as council members are to provide support staff for the council, who shall ensure that it provides an effective forum for diverse stakeholders to work together to create positive changes in the local food system. They will do so by seeking common purposes, fostering collaborative decision making, sharing information whether in printed or electronic formats, adopting integrated approaches to local issues, and maintaining appropriate cultural sensitivity.
The council shall issue advisory reports to the Governor, upon request by the Chief Executive and no less than twice a year, on the first Monday of every June and December.
On behalf of the governor’s office, the council shall issue an annual summary report to the Legislature and Judicial branches. The council will, as needed, liaise with the Legislative and Judicial.
The order also states that the council shall identify specific roles that non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, and community entities can play in partnership with the Government with respect to the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies and strategies.
It can also explore cooperation with regional, national and international organizations in support of council goals.
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