Photo credits: Australian High Commission Suva Media
FJD3 million towards Protecting Pacific Crops
Friday July 26
The Australian Government is strengthening food security in our region by helping to protect and improve the food crops of the Pacific.
Yesterday, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, announced a AUD2 million (FJD3 million) contribution to the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) based in Narere.
The Centre plays a critical role in the conservation of the Pacific’s diverse collection of food plant genetic material and making planting material available to farmers across the Pacific.
Pacific food crops such as yam, taro, banana, breadfruit and sweet potato are vulnerable to pest and disease outbreak. Climate change and extreme weather events also affect food crops.
CePaCT plays a critical role in identifying, conserving and sharing planting materials that are resistant to disease and adaptable to change.
During her two-day trip to Fiji this week, Senator Payne was pleased to visit CePaCT and see first-hand the facilities.
Australia’s funding will assist CePaCT to upgrade its facilities and improve the technical knowledge of its staff.
Australia has been a longstanding supporter of CePaCT, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
CePaCT researchers collaborate with a number of leading Australian universities and research institutions.