ISTRC-PB President Mohammed Umar shaking hands with ISTRC then President, Prof Andrew WestbyAs part of one of the outputs of the EU-ACP roots and tubers project (Output 1: An ACP international 'Community of Practice' associated with the ISTRC developed to support the contribution of tropical root and tuber crops to achieve developmental outcomes), one activity was 'to foster the creation, if appropriate and desirable, of a Pacific Branch of the Society'.

Following discussions between the ISTRC councillor for the Pacific and local institutions, it was deemed desirable to have a specific branch in the Pacific to focus attention on the importance of root crops, particularly in light of impact of emerging climate change on root and tuber crop production and food security in the region.

The Pacific Branch of the ISTRC was inaugurated during the EU-AC project training course in PNG in March 2012. Professor Andrew Westby, NRI Director and then President of the ISTRC, presided over the launch ceremony. He was assisted by Professors Keith Tomlins (NRI) and Satish Chandra (ISTRC Councillor-Pacific).Prof Halim, ISTRC-PB vice President, Mohammed Umar, President (ISTRC-PB), Prof AW (then ISTRC President); Prof Keith Tomlins (then ISTRC Councillor Publications, now ISTRC President)

All attendees of the PNG and Fiji training courses (March 2012 and September 2011 respectively) became members of the Pacific Branch of the ISTRC. The President and Vice President were invited to attend the 16th Symposium of the ISTRC in Nigeria as part of their remit to support the development of RTC in the Pacific region.

The full list of ISTRC-Pacific Branch Office Bearers is as follows:

Function Name Institution

Associate Prof Mohammed Umar

Director, Institute of Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture, University of the South Pacific, Samoa
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Vice President Prof Abdul Halim Professor and Head of Department of Agriculture, UNITECH, Lae, Papua New Guinea
Secretary Ricky Faatonu Senior Advisory Officer (Root Crops), Nu’u Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Apia, Samoa
Treasurer Senira Su’a Admin/Marketing Officer, University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus, Apia, Samoa
Member Dr Sergie Bang Deputy Director General, National Agricultural Research Institute, Papua New Guinea
Member John Bosco Principal Officer/Research (Agronomy), Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock, Solomon Islands
Member Savenaca Cuquma Senior Research Officer, Koronivia Research Station, Ministry of Primary Industry, Nausori, FijiIslands
Member Dr Maia Wamala Senior Lecturer, Department of Agriculture, University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea
Member Stephan Mesa National Project Coordinator, DAL, Regional Office, Lae, Papua New Guinea

The first meeting of the ISTRC-PB is planned for 2014 in Fiji with a planning meeting also to be held in Fiji, in 2013.