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.

Training for Pacific states on climate change impact tools
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:16
Suva, Fiji - The impacts of climate change are having profound effects upon Pacific Island communities, many of which rely on agriculture for food security and livelihoods.

Empowering Pacific Island countries and territories to use tools that are available to predict and assess the impacts of climate change, and to build resilient communities, was part of the training provided at the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN) and the Pacific Plant Breeders Network (PPBN) meetings, organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division, and held between 1 and 5 December in Suva, Fiji.

Presentations and training were provided to government representatives (mainly from ministries of agriculture), non-governmental organisations and farmers’ groups, by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and SPC’s Land Resources Division, on various models based on ongoing research supported by multi-donor-funded projects.

Crop modelling is one of the methods being used to understand the mechanics of how climate change impacts on food security and other potential impacts of climate changes for the region’s agriculture. For example, questions such as: What would be the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide on the yield of cassava or taro? Would it increase or decrease? Would it make the taste sweeter or more bitter? What would be the best cropping time during the year to harvest crops in light of climate change? The model can also help predict future impacts, using evidence-based data. 

This knowledge will help to provide better mechanisms for responding and adapting to climate change. Transfer of technology can occur through trial and error, analogy (what works in one place might work in another), and simulation (testing how a technology performs before transferring it).

Ongoing field trials and crop modelling by USP and SPC, on crops including taro,  cassava and sweet potato, have identified a number of promising results, and have prompted a number of further research initiatives. Although climate change impact scenarios are uncertain, Pacific staple food production is expected to be susceptible to climate change, based on current trends.

When designing adaptation options, the capacity of a community to implement them must be taken into account. Participatory approaches empower communities to understand their own issues and to identify solutions to adapt to climate change impacts.

With funding support from USAID, SPC has developed a participatory community vulnerability assessment framework for evaluating resilient farming systems in the Pacific. The results from these assessments have indicated that food security in the region is under threat and that it needs to be addressed in an integrated manner.

Meeting participants were given simulation training on how to conduct a ‘Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment’, using a set of tools to determine the vulnerability of communities, and to assess adaptation options. The vulnerability formula was V = E x S/A (Vulnerability = Exposure x Sensitivity/Adaptive Capacity, using a set of tools to assess ‘E’, ‘S’ and ‘A’).

Participants simulated the vulnerability assessment responses from sample communities in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, noting perceived changes, such as a reduction in the size of fruits produced, or a decline in the number of litters produced by pigs, as a result of climate change. This would affect agriculture and food production in the Pacific region, and threaten the food security of Pacific Island communities.

Possible adaptations include the use of different crop varieties, and changing farming methods, including growing times. There is also a need to identify resilient crops and cropping systems, against extreme climate change events, and to plant accordingly.

Access to improved data on weather, climate and soils is important in order to provide better options for policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders. The meeting also highlighted that better coordination between regional agencies and governments helps to strengthen the ownership and sustainability of activities at the national and community levels. Policies and legislation should be aligned.

The development of early screening methods was also outlined by the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees, using the example of screening for drought tolerance in tissue culture for four edible aroid crops which are important staples in most Pacific Island countries and territories (giant taro, taro, swamp taro and xanthosoma).

The research seeks to identify crop resilience in different climate change scenarios in order to ensure sustainable food and nutritional security.

The vulnerability of Pacific agriculture to climate change is the focus of an SPC publication which is due to be published in 2015. Global data about climate change vulnerability is currently lacking for the Pacific region.

The PAPGREN and the PPBN meetings were supported by by two European Union-SPC partnerships: Pacific Agriculture Policy Programme (PAPP) and Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Treaty Benefit Sharing Fund co-funded the meeting.

For more information please contact:
Valerie S Tuia, SPC Genetic Resources Coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Dr Siosiua Halavatau, Land Resources Division Acting Deputy Director, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Poasa Nauluvula, SPC This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Viliamu Iese, USP, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or SPC LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Photo captions:
1.    Participants from New Caledonia (Julien Drouin), Tonga (Vuninesi Minoneti) and Samoa (Pueata Tanielu) sharing results on their vulnerability assessment training

2.   Food and nutrition security team of SPC’s Land Resources Division providing training on vulnerability assessment models led by Dr Siosiua  Halavatau, Dean Solofa and Gibson Susumu.

 

 

The impacts of climate change are having profound effects upon Pacific Island communities, many of which rely on agriculture for food security and livelihoods.

 

Empowering Pacific Island countries and territories to use tools that are available to predict and assess the impacts of climate change, and to build resilient communities, was part of the training provided at the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN) and the Pacific Plant Breeders Network (PPBN) meetings, organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division, and held between 1 and 5 December in Suva, Fiji.

 

Presentations and training were provided to government representatives (mainly from ministries of agriculture), non-governmental organisations and farmers’ groups, by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and SPC’s Land Resources Division, on various models based on ongoing research supported by multi-donor-funded projects.

 

Crop modelling is one of the methods being used to understand the mechanics of how climate change impacts on food security and other potential impacts of climate changes for the region’s agriculture. For example, questions such as: What would be the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide on the yield of cassava or taro? Would it increase or decrease? Would it make the taste sweeter or more bitter? What would be the best cropping time during the year to harvest crops in light of climate change? The model can also help predict future impacts, using evidence-based data.

This knowledge will help to provide better mechanisms for responding and adapting to climate change. Transfer of technology can occur through trial and error, analogy (what works in one place might work in another), and simulation (testing how a technology performs before transferring it).

 

Ongoing field trials and crop modelling by USP and SPC, on crops including taro, cassava and sweet potato, have identified a number of promising results, and have prompted a number of further research initiatives. Although climate change impact scenarios are uncertain, Pacific staple food production is expected to be susceptible to climate change, based on current trends.

 

When designing adaptation options, the capacity of a community to implement them must be taken into account. Participatory approaches empower communities to understand their own issues and to identify solutions to adapt to climate change impacts.

 

With funding support from USAID, SPC has developed a participatory community vulnerability assessment framework for evaluating resilient farming systems in the Pacific. The results from these assessments have indicated that food security in the region is under threat and that it needs to be addressed in an integrated manner.

Meeting participants were given simulation training on how to conduct a ‘Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment’, using a set of tools to determine the vulnerability of communities, and to assess adaptation options. The vulnerability formula was V = E x S/A (Vulnerability = Exposure x Sensitivity/Adaptive Capacity, using a set of tools to assess ‘E’, ‘S’ and ‘A’).

 

Participants simulated the vulnerability assessment responses from sample communities in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, noting perceived changes, such as a reduction in the size of fruits produced, or a decline in the number of litters produced by pigs, as a result of climate change. This would affect agriculture and food production in the Pacific region, and threaten the food security of Pacific Island communities.

 

Possible adaptations include the use of different crop varieties, and changing farming methods, including growing times. There is also a need to identify resilient crops and cropping systems, against extreme climate change events, and to plant accordingly.

 

Access to improved data on weather, climate and soils is important in order to provide better options for policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders. The meeting also highlighted that better coordination between regional agencies and governments helps to strengthen the ownership and sustainability of activities at the national and community levels. Policies and legislation should be aligned.

 

The development of early screening methods was also outlined by the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees, using the example of screening for drought tolerance in tissue culture for four edible aroid crops which are important staples in most Pacific Island countries and territories (giant taro, taro, swamp taro and xanthosoma).

 

The research seeks to identify crop resilience in different climate change scenarios in order to ensure sustainable food and nutritional security.

 

The vulnerability of Pacific agriculture to climate change is the focus of an SPC publication which is due to be published in 2015. Global data about climate change vulnerability is currently lacking for the Pacific region.

 

The PAPGREN and the PPBN meetings were supported by by two European Union-SPC partnerships: Pacific Agriculture Policy Programme (PAPP) and Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Treaty Benefit Sharing Fund co-funded the meeting.

 

For more information please contact:

Valerie S Tuia, SPC Genetic Resources Coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Dr Siosiua Halavatau, Land Resources Division Acting Deputy Director, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Poasa Nauluvula, SPC This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Viliamu Iese, USP, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or SPC LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Photo captions:

1. Participants from New Caledonia (Julien Drouin), Tonga (Vuninesi Minoneti) and Samoa (Pueata Tanielu) sharing results on their vulnerability assessment training

 

2, 3 and 4. Food and nutrition security team of SPC’s Land Resources Division providing training on vulnerability assessment models led by Dr Siosiua Halavatau, Dean Solofa and Gibson Susumu.