|Wednesday, 03 March 2010 17:44|
During regional consultations on biosecurity and plant protection facilitates by SPC in Fiji in 2002 and again in 2004, the Pacific Island Countries and Territories each tabled their 10 most important weeds. The weed lists varied from country to country but a number of weeds stood out as weeds of regional importance, both in terms of the number of countries ranking them in their top 10 list, and the degree of impact these have on agriculture, forestry and the environment.
Among the weeds of concern to the region, Mikania micrantha is regarded as being in the top two most widespread and important weeds by the PICTs; the other being Merremia peltata (Convolvulaceae), a weed of forestry and disturbed natural areas.
Three of the countries, PNG, Fiji and Samoa, who rated M. micrantha very highly, were chosen to pilot a biological control initiative, as they showed support for such a project and had the facilities to implement the required activities.
In December 2004, after preliminary discussions with ACIAR a development trip was undertaken to PNG, Samoa and Fiji to establish links, meet and discuss a proposed Biological Control of Mikania micrantha project with potential project participants and stakeholders.
A full project proposal was submitted to ACIAR in 2005, for funding for a biological control project in Fiji and PNG (Samoa opting to stay out of the project for the meantime). The project was officially launched in July 2006.
Delegates to the September 2004 Conference of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry (HOAFS) in Suva, Fiji. At this conference, the work of SPC's Land Resources Division, included its weed biocontrol programs was fully endorsed by the Heads of Agriculture.