"The contribution of Grahame Jackson, former Technical Director of TaroGen Project,  towards construction of this website is sincerely acknowledged."

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TaroGen, a 5.5-year project funded by AusAID and implemented by SPC in collaboration with IPGRI and USP, is working with national programmes to develop a regional strategy for taro genetic resource conservation and crop improvement. The project is designed to assist Pacific Island countries in the collection and conservation of taro germplasm and in the use of the genetic resources in plant improvement programmes. The project commenced in June 1998 and was recently extended to 31 December 2003. The total value of the project is estimated at $4.3 million.

The objectives of the project are:

  • to complete the description and conservation of the majority of taro genetic diversity in the Pacific Region;

  • to provide men and women in Pacific Island Countries with taro varieties that have improved resistance to Taro Leaf Blight, and;

  • to provide support to implementing agencies so they can effectively and efficiently manage the project.

The major impetus behind the development of the project has been the loss of taro genetic resources in the region and the spread of taro leaf blight to the Samoan islands in 1993 and its devastating effect on the economy. Many other Pacific Island countries are now vulnerable to the disease.





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Two sub-components, one on DNA fingerprinting to facilitate accurate comparison of accessions between countries, and the other on virus indexing procedures to overcome quarantine concerns in the international exchange of taro germplasm, are being financed by ACIAR. Techniques are being developed at the Queensland University of Technology (virus indexing) and the University of Queensland (DNA fingerprinting). In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand has agreed to support inputs of plant pathology to assist the breeding programmes. This is provided through expertise from HortResearch. More recently, TaroGen has been working closely with NGOs such as the Planting Materials Network (PMN) in Solomon Islands and Farmer Support Association (FSA) in Vanuatu to assist with conservation and crop improvement activities.  

An article on the TaroGen Project was published in the SPC Annual Report 2001. To learn more about  Safeguarding Pacific Island Taro - An important Pacific Island Root Crop - Click Here





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