CoGent Network

COGENT Coconut news and events News

International coconut genebank rescue plan launched in PNG

Bogia disease advanced level

In May 2013, COGENT launched a bilingual video alerting viewers to a new lethal plant disease called Bogia coconut syndrome (BCS) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This devastating bacterial disease (caused by a phytoplasma) is still spreading (by vectors or via infected planting material) and killing more and more coconut palms, palms of other species like Betel nut, and plants of certain susceptible banana cultivars. Earning PNG around US$740 million a year, the oil palm industry  is also keen to know if or how it may be affected.

Aside from the other plant species, at least ten million farmers and their families cultivate coconut palms worldwide on an estimated 12 million hectares, and tens of millions more people own a few coconut palms which contribute to their livelihoods. BCS, which could trigger harsh social and biological consequences, has been identified in Madang province, PNG within 15 km of an important International Coconut Genebank (ICG). Around 70 per cent of the Madang population of nearly half a million depends on coconut for food and livelihoods. The ICG conserves coconut varieties for the whole Pacific region, and is managed by the PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute Limited (CCI) at the Stewart Research Station in Madang. It holds 55 accessions acquired mainly from PNG with 6 exotic varieties, under an agreement with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), along with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Bioversity International as host to COGENT.

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Eight recommendations arising from the 17th COGENT Steering Committee meeting (CRI, Sri Lanka, 13th - 16th July 2014)

 Click on the pictures to have more COGENT photos

In conjunction with the Sri Lankan Coconut Research Institute (CRI, Dr Lalith Perera), Bioversity International organized the 17th Steering Committee Meeting of the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) from 13th to 16th July 2014, in Lunuwila, Sri Lanka. The meeting was funded by the CGIAR Research Programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

As a key outcome of the meeting, the Steering Committee and participants from nine countries (Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, France, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania), including official COGENT representatives, have endorsed eight major international recommendations  to finalise and begin implementing the Global Strategy for the Conservation and Use of Coconut Genetic Resources, which spans the coming decade. The list below is not yet ranked in order of priority:

1. Strengthening support for COGENT especially with regard to its Secretariat, funding, human resources, collaborations and networking in a more integrated context

2. Strengthening COGENT’s link with the Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC)

3. Reviewing roles and responsibilities of International Coconut Genebanks (ICGs)

4. Prioritising the 10 recommendations of the Strategy

5. Prioritising the 10 recommendations of 2012 Steering Committee Meeting

6. Endorsing the new Global Strategy for more effective conservation and use of coconut genetic resources

7. Coconut germplasm certification/quality control

8. Coconut germplasm safe movement (with intracellular pathogens)

The recommendations were officially endorsed by Dr Alexia PRADES (CIRAD, France), interim COGENT Coordinator, and Dr George THOMAS, (CPCRI, India), the outgoing COGENT chair.

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The Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) aims to promote national, regional and global collaboration among coconut-producing countries and
partner institutions in the conservation and use of coconut genetic resources for enhanced livelihoods.

The COGENT website is maintained by Bioversity International - Montpellier office.

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