CoGent Network

Coconut palms and bananas threatened by a new lethal disease

In Papua New Guinea, a new lethal plant disease called Bogia syndrome is spreading and killing more and more coconut palms, other palms species like Betel nut and some banana varieties. 10 million farmers and their families cultivate coconut palms worldwide on about 12 million hectares, and many more people own a few coconut palms which contribute to their livelihoods. Bogia syndrome, which could trigger harsh social consequences, was recently identified in Madang province within 20 km of an important International Coconut Collection. This genebank conserves coconut varieties for the whole Pacific region. With support from Bioversity International and CGIAR, COGENT (which embraces 39 coconut-producing member countries, representing >98% global production) is mobilizing researchers and stakeholders to fight this disease and re-locate this international genebank. This action will be a component of the Global Strategy for Coconut Genetic Resources Conservation and Use, to be published by COGENT at the end of 2013.

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