Melanesian farmers conserve banana diversity
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Fanton, Michel. 2005. Melanesian farmers conserve banana diversity. Spore 120. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48038
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore120.pdf
A local NGO on the island of Makira in the southeastern Solomon Islands is helping subsistence farmers to conserve their hundreds of banana varieties...
A local NGO on the island of Makira in the southeastern Solomon Islands is helping subsistence farmers to conserve their hundreds of banana varieties. Thanks to the initiative of the Manivovo Rural Training Centre, several precious varieties, thought to have been lost, have been restored. While everyone in Melanesia eats bananas and plantains, the Makirans rely on the crop to such an extent that neighbouring islanders teasingly call them huki after their favourite food. Makira has very few roads, so the first collecting expedition was made by motorised canoe. Villages with radio access were invited to donate their ancestral banana suckers to the collections. Local students were asked to bring 10 suckers each from their villages to the training centre, one of three collection points on the island. They documented the names and provenances of all varieties after being given training in the use of scientific descriptors. The students are paid a small fee for each variety they describe. So far, 55 out of 108 varieties have been characterised, using local names such as three heads and eight heads (referring to multi-headed bunches) or 5 minutes (referring to cooking time). The initiative was launched with support from the Kastom Garden Project in the Solomon Islands and the Seed Savers Network in Australia. Michel Fanton The Seed Savers Network PO Box 975 Byron Bay Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.seedsavers.net