|Pacific Plant Genetic Resources|
PGR networks have been instrumental in strengthening national programmes and international collaboration in all regions of the world. There is especially strong rationale for a network in the Pacific, because the region is made up of small, isolated countries which nevertheless share many crops, agricultural systems, and indeed problems. This combination of isolation and commonalities is well-suited to a network which can facilitate the sharing of resources and information. This was recognized by the Pacific Ministers of Agriculture, who in 1996, resolved “to put in place, both in their countries and through regional cooperation, policies to conserve, protect and best utilize their plant genetic resources,” and asked the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to help. The SPC LRD responded to this resolution through the establishment of Regional Germplasm Centre (RGC) in 1998 – this is now the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT), and also by putting in place the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network, or PAPGREN. The concept of a PGR network was endorsed by Pacific Directors of Agriculture in 2001.
The overall objective of PAPGREN has been: “To promote the conservation and use of the genetic resources of crops of local importance in order to ensure long-term conservation and access to these genetic resources by Pacific Island populations, which in turn will contribute to sustainable development, food security and income generation. The key outputs of Phase 1 and Phase 2 have focused on: