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The Center for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT)

Overview

Genebank CePaCT FJI023

Crop diversity remains the key to meeting future food needs. Yet these resources are disappearing and diversity in the Pacific has been no exception to this trend.

Mission

The mission of CePaCT is to assist Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to conserve the region’s genetic resources, and to provide access to the diversity they need, when they need it.

Conservation

Conservation is the core business of the centre, with priority given to the region’s staple crops: taro, yam, sweet potato, banana, cassava and breadfruit. The centre houses over 2,000 accessions in all. The taro collection is particularly unique, being the largest collection of taro diversity globally – over 1,000 accessions.

Efforts are currently focused on building up regional collections of banana, breadfruit and yam in recognition of the diversity that exists in these crops in the Pacific. This diversity needs to be conserved, evaluated and made available to countries so that farmers can use this resource to improve food production and income generation.

crop trust support

The Crop Trust provides a long-term grant for the conservation of the international collection of Aroids and Yam at CePaCT in SPC.

Distribution

CePaCT not only conserves the region’s valuable genetic diversity, but also undertakes the important mission of distributing it, making it available for growers throughout the Pacific to use. Quarantine services throughout the Pacific region recognise that virus-tested plantlets (tissue cultures) are a safe method for importing plant material. In 2009 CePaCT distributed over 8,000 sweet potato, banana, cassava, yam, Irish potato, taro, breadfruit, vanilla, Alocasia and Xanthosoma plants to PICTs for evaluation and use.

research

CePaCT also has a strong research programme. Currently research activities include the development of micropropagation protocols for sandalwood and pandanus; cryopreservation of aroids; salt tolerance studies on swamp taro and taro virus research. In the past CePaCT has worked with USP in supporting Masters in kava micropropagation and taro cryopreservation, and with USP and QUT in supporting a PhD in somatic embryogenesis.

The crops conserved at CePaCT

Filter by crops

Aroids

Number of varieties available to the public
93.6% 1,157
Data available in genesys
8.1% 100

Yam

Number of varieties available to the public
0% 0
Data available in genesys
79.7% 247

Breakdown of crops conserved at CePaCT

  • Aroids 1,236 / 79.9%
  • Yam 310 / 20.1%