CoGent Network

Darwin Initiative "Upgrading and broadening the new South-Pacific International Coconut Genebank"

Stephan Weise, Bioversity Programme Manager, spoke about the importance of coconut diversity. (Image: Bioversity International)

Coconut farming has traditionally been the main source of income for many small-scale farmers around the world, especially in Asia and the Pacific. Within the communities, it often has a strong cultural heritage, and the nutritional benefits of coconuts are being explored in the wider world.

Despite these benefits, coconut-growing communities, especially in India, also face threats: climate change, outbreaks of pests and diseases, such as coconut leaf beetle and coconut wilt, and competition from cheaper products such as palm oil.

For all these reasons, the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), organized an International conference on Coconut Biodiversity for Prosperity, held in Kerala from 25 to 28 October 2010.

 

The conference adopted the  Kasaragod Declaration (140 KB), which called for the coconut crop to be “promoted as a food for nutrition, health care and environmental services to safeguard the interest of millions of people and their livelihoods”. The Declaration also calls for more investment and research into pest and disease management.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Stephan Weise, Bioversity International Programme Manager and COGENT coordinator, emphasized the need to: “address each link in the coconut chain for success in the present day competitive world”. He also stressed the importance of unfettered exchange of coconut diversity and different technologies to improve for coconut production and profitability.

 

 

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