"New Zealand supports production and distribution of 'climate ready' crops
Through its aid programme, New Zealand is helping the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) based in Suva, Fiji, provide more resilient crops for the Pacific community. This work helps build the resilience of agricultural food systems to climate change and natural and biological disasters.
Six countries (Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and Papua New Guinea) have received over 1,700 tissue culture plantlets – mainly of climate ready crops with demonstrated tolerance to climate variability such as drought, high salt levels and water logging.
These crops were sourced from international genebanks and are distributed using standard material transfer agreements under the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Crops distributed include more than 100 different varieties of taro, banana, breadfruit, cassava, alocasia, swamp taro, sweet potato, xanthosoma, yam and Irish potato. This includes crops from the CePaCT ‘climate ready’ collection established under the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative.
Crops provided to countries also include nutrient-rich varieties of sweet potato and cassava that are high in carotenoids (good for health), varieties of taro tolerant to taro leaf blight disease, black leaf streak tolerant bananas and breadfruit varieties that can produce fruit year round.
The recipients of SPC crops include Women in Business (Samoa), Live and Learn (Kiribati), Laura Women’s Group (Marshall Islands), Global Alliance Women’s Group (Fiji), along with agricultural ministries and research institutes around the Pacific.
The programme aims to engage farming communities, women and youth, church groups, schools and farmers. Strengthening work with civil society was also a recommendation of the heads of agriculture and forestry services when they met in Samoa in September 2008.
Distribution will continue in the next few months to supply the remaining farming communities in the region with climate resilient and nutrient rich crops.
By Logotonu M. Waqainabete (LogotonuW@spc.int) and Valerie S. Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int), Genetic Resources, SPC LRD. Please contact them if require further information, or contact the LRD Helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org.