M. Taylor, H. Jaenicke, P. Mathur, V.S. Tuia
Pacific Islanders traditionally have enjoyed diverse ways to achieve food security, however numerous factors have contributed to weaken local food production from poor investment in agriculture to urbanization and the availability of cheap imported food. An increasing reliance on imported food products has not only affected the health of Pacific communities, but also threatened food security, as shown with the recent global food price crisis. Climate change further emphasizes the challenges to food security through its impact on food production, human health, infrastructure, national food sovereignty, and the ability of households to purchase food. To face these challenges, members of the Pacific Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN) met in 2009 to address the following constraints which specifically impact on the develop¬ment of local agriculture: (1) lack of information/documentation on traditional crop species in the Pacific; (2) no regional priority list of traditional crop species; (3) lack of policy support from various government agencies; (4) poor awareness at all levels about the value and potential of underutilized species. A regional strategy on “crops for the future” in the Pacific based on underutilized plant species was developed containing the following key elements: 1. generation and collection of knowledge/ research; 2. communication and dissemination; 3. policy advocacy; 4. market develop¬ment; 5. partnerships; 6. capacity building and institutional strengthening. The priority crops (currently underutilized) identified include breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), bananas of the Fe’i group and/or Pacific plantain, Polynesian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), Pometia pinnata, giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma merkusii), bele (Abelmoschus manihot), the lesser aroids Alocasia and Xanthosoma and, particularly for the atoll islands, Pandanus spp. Priority research and development activities on these crops include increased regional exchange of information to determine gaps and identify areas of future research focus. Particular emphasis is placed on increasing capacity for plant breeding and the use of traditional knowledge for the conservation and utilization of these important crops.
Taylor, M., Jaenicke, H., Mathur, P. and Tuia, V.S. (2011). TOWARDS A STRATEGY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND USE OF UNDERUTILIZED CROPS IN THE PACIFIC. Acta Hortic. 918, 381-388
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.918.49
food security, climate change, agro-biodiversity

Acta Horticulturae