361-11 Establishment of Specialty Crops Tissue Culture Program On Guam.
Poster Number 1403
Plant tissue culture involves propagating plants in controlled sterile environments and enables mass production of healthy clone plants in a relatively short period of time. Guam Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the University of Guam have undertaken a vital initiative to establish and sustain a plant tissue culture program to enhance urban agriculture on Guam and the Western Pacific region. Over the recent decades, production of local traditional crops such as bananas, yams, taro or sweet potato have continuously declined. Viral and fungal diseases became so prevalent that clean planting stock became difficult to obtain. This negative trend was recently reversed through a USDA initiative that facilitated establishment of two tissue culture laboratories on Guam. The plant tissue culture project that began in 2010 involves micro-propagation of bananas, taro and yams and in the future will expand to ornamentals and possibly tropical trees. In addition to its support in development of urban agriculture on Guam, this program trains skilled workers enhancing their job opportunities in the local job market. Details pertaining to the establishment of this new program and its challenges and achievements will be presented and discussed.