Station de recherche “Marc Delorme”
Dr Jean Louis Konan
West African Tall Mensah (WAT04)
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Activités de Recherche sur le cocotier en Côte d'Ivoire: Etat d'avancement et perspectives (Research activities on coconut in Côte d'Ivoire: progress and prospects)
The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire is a country in West Africa with an area of 322,462 km2. Côte d’Ivoire borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.
The Marc Delorme coconut research station was founded in 1949 by the Institut de Recherches sur les Huiles et Oléagineux (IRHO), one of the research institutes now merged into CIRAD. Today, the station is part of a research facility belonging to the Ivorian Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA). It took this name after Marc Delorme, the sixth Director was killed in an accident (Bourdeix et al. 2005). The Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of the International Coconut Genebank for Africa and Indian Ocean (ICG-AIO) was signed in October 1999 by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, IPGRI on behalf of COGENT and FAO as trustee. At the time of signing the MOA, the coconut genebank of the Marc Delorme Coconut Research Station was converted into the ICG-AIO. To date, ICG-AIO has a total of 99 accessions. It is located around 30 km from the centre of Abidjan, not far from the airport, on the edge of the lagoon. It is pleasant and easy to reach. Its guesthouse regularly houses students, trainees and researchers. It has four laboratories conducting research on the different aspects of coconut growing: agronomy, crop protection, breeding and technology. Its experimental plantations occupy an area of more than 1000 hectares.
By virtue of its germplasm collection, the Marc Delorme station has been able to satisfy the requests of numerous countries. Many partners, including India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Brazil and Costa Rica have received seednuts from coconut palms conserved in Côte d’Ivoire. One of the most recent operations consisted in planting performance trials involving a large number of varieties in Brazil, Benin, Ghana, Jamaica, Mexico, Mozambique and Tanzania. These experiments are designed to identify sources of resistance to a serious disease, Lethal Yellowing, which is killing many coconut palms in some of those countries.
Collaborative Activities between BIOVERSITY/COGENT and Cote d'Ivoire
1. Capacity Building
a) Technical assistance/expert advice
From 1999 to 2008, two experts were sent to Cote d’Ivoire to assess the pest risk at the International Coconut Genebank and review the regeneration of coconut accessions in the International Coconut Genebank for Africa and the Indian Ocean (ICG-AIO).
b) Training and human resources development
Two training courses were hosted by the Centre National de Recherche Agronomique and conducted in the Cote d’Ivoire from 1997 to 2002. The training courses were participated by 11 researchers from 11 countries.
Three local staff of collaborating agencies in the country underwent BIOVERSITY-COGENT-sponsored staff development training on such courses as the use of the microsatellite kit (molecular marker) and dedicated statistical software; technical writing/ seminar presentation and proposal writing; Statistical Design and Germplasm x Environment Interaction Analysis Training Course and Coconut embryo culture to improve collecting and safe movement of germplasm..
c) COGENT meetings/workshops
In 1997, one workshop and one meeting were held in Cote d’Ivoire, including the 6th COGENT Steering Committee Meeting in Port Bouet.
2. Research Projects
Three projects either have been or are currently being carried out in the country, with the Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA) as the implementing agency.
3. Financial Support and Funding
CFC, DFID and Portugal provided funding support for the coconut projects in Cote d’Ivoire totaling US$ 413,090, with the national government giving counterpart financing of US$ 147,816.