Genetic Resources

The GR thematic team contributes to the LRD objectives through facilitating access to both traditional and improved agrobiodiversity. The Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) is the genebank for the Pacific region. It houses a globally unique collection of taro, conserving diversity for present and future generations. The CePaCT also plays a key role in ensuring that the countries of the Pacific have access not only to traditional diversity but also to improved crops, which can be crucial in the management of pests and diseases, and in securing food production within a changing climate. Crop diversity can also assist countries in taking advantage of market opportunities.

Indonesia hosts ITPGRFA Meeting
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 14:14


 The Pacific participates in the Fourth Session of the Governing Body to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)

The Pacific was well represented at the Fourth Session of the Governing Body to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) which took place inBali, Indonesia from 14th to 18th March. Of the five Contracting Parties in the Pacific (excluding the French Territories), four countries were represented, namely Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa, with the Minister of Agriculture (HM Nikora) being in the delegation from Kiribati. Mr Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty presented his report and highlighted that 127 countries have now signed the Treaty, and that 1.5 million samples of the world’s 64 most important food crops have been added to the gene pool created by the Treaty. Between 600 and 800 samples are exchanged each day through the Treaty’s Standard Materials Transfer Agreement (SMTA). “With climate change already altering growing conditions and populations rapidly increasing, preserving and sharing crop diversity on a global scale is no longer optional,” said Dr. Bhatti. “No country – rich or poor – has within its borders the crop diversity required to meet future food needs. All countries need to improve the way they share their seed crop material as a matter of great urgency.” He recognized the recent support given by the SPC Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) in providing taro leaf blight resistant accessions of taro to Nigeria to help them in their fight against the same disease.

Earlier in the week the Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia HE Ir. Suswono announced that Indonesia will be the first developing country to offer a financial contribution to the global fund of the International Treaty with a USD 100,000 contribution. The Minister said “We ministers responsible for implementation of the Treaty, are recognizing the importance and unique role of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to address the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change and demonstrate that the Treaty is vital to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, and ensure environmental sustainability.” For these reasons, he appealed to other countries to follow the example and contribute to the Fund. With their contribution, Indonesia joins other countries such as Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain that have recently contributed to the Benefit-sharing Fund. High-impact projects to support farmers to adapt to climate change through the use of plant genetic diversity will soon be approved for funding by the Benefit-sharing Fund. The expected funding for these projects in this year will be at least USD10 million.