Coconut breeding: Papers presented at a workshop on 'Standerdization of coconut breeding research techniques', 20-25 June 1994, Port Bouet, Côte d'Ivoire
One of the major problems of coconut farmers is the lack of well-adapted and high yielding coconut varieties. Other related problems are the insufficient number of well-trained coconut breeders and efficient breeding research techniques to develop improved varieties.
On 20-25 June 1994, GTZ, BUROTROP and IPGRI (now Bioversity) supported a workshop on 'Standard research techniques in coconut breeding' which was hosted by the Marc Delorme station cocotier in Port Bouet, Côte d'Ivoire. representatives from 16 coconut-producing countries and partner organizations participated in the workshop. The workshop discussed and drafted recommended coconut breeding research techniques which were subsequently refined and published as a Manual on standardized research techniques in coconut breeding (STANTECH manual) ( 9MB) .
In the same workshop, participants also presented the coconut breeding programmes being implemented in their home countries. The participants noted the range of germplasm available for breeding and exchanged experiences on how to increase efficiency in developing improved varieties. Most of the papers were updated in 1998 to reflect modifications in respective programmes.
It is hoped that this publication and the STANTECH manual will help coconut-producing countries increase their number of well-trained coconut breeders and provide efficient techniques to produce improved coconut varieties for resource-poor farmers.
Proceedings of the COGENT Regional Coconut Genebank Planning Workshop, 26-28 February 1996, Pekanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
At the Steering Committee meetings of the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) held in Singapore in 1992, Montpellier, France in 1993, and Davao City, Philippines in 1994, COGENT proposed the establishment of an international multisite coconut genebank. The Committee also initially nominated the following regional sites and host countries: Southeast Asia (Indonesia), South Asia (India), South Pacific (Papua New Guinea) and Africa (Côte d'Ivoire).
Task forces were created to evaluate the suitability of proposed sites and the commitments of host countries based on criteria formulated by the Steering Committee (Appendix I). The result of these task force evaluation visits to Indonesia, India and Papua New Guinea were presented during the Steering Committee meeting in India in 1995. Based on the favourable assessment of the three proposed host countries, and the generally accepted suitability and written commitment from Côte d'Ivoire, the Steering Committee endorsed the holding of a Regional Coconut Genebank Planning Workshop.
The objectives of the workshop were:
1. To formulate guidelines for regional conservation of coconut genetic resources.
2. To develop a 7-year work plan and budget for each of the four regional genebanks.
3. To develop appropriate agreements between FAO, host countries and IPGRI that will govern germplasm acquisition, conservation and access.
4. To develop a sustainable funding strategy for the establishment and operation of these multisite coconut germplasm collections.
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Promoting multi-purpose uses and competitiveness of the coconut. Proceedings of a workshop, 26-29 September 1996, Chumphon, Thailand (Part 1)
The traditional commercial coconut products are copra and coconut oil. Due to strong competition from oil palm and annual oil crops, the demand, and consequently the price for these two products have been declining over the years. Growing coconut for copra and oil is simply not viable for the growers, most of whom are poor subsistence farmers.
However, coconut is more than a commercial crop. It is also a social crop. Coconut farms are usually family owned and passed from one generation to the next. Once planted, coconut stands can be productive for 40-60 years. In some areas, such as Pacific islands and atolls, coconut is the only crop that can be grown as the soil is too poor to sustain other crops. In such areas, coconut represents the only form of livelihood for millions of people.
So how can we help the poor coconut farmer? The answer is to identify new high value products that can be made from the coconut, other than copra and coconut oil. The coconut tree is a very versatile plant. Products can be made from various parts of the tree e.g. the fruit (kernel and water), the sap, the husk, the shell, the leaves and the trunk (cocowood). Many different types of products can be made ranging from food items, handicraft, toiletries and items for household use. Some of the products can be very profitable and can be produced using 'low-tech' methods so farmers can make the products themselves without heavy capital outlay for equipment.
The Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) held a workshop to discuss all these alternative uses for coconut which can help increase the competitiveness of the coconut. Researchers from 12 countries who are working on these new alternative coconut products were invited to present their research findings at this workshop (26-29 September 1996, Chumphon, Thailand).
The proceedings of this workshop will be useful for researchers, coconut farmers and perhaps even business entrepreneurs to understand the opportunities that exist in producing new high-profit coconut products.
Viroid-like Sequences of Coconut. Proceedings of a meeting, 21-23 April 1997, Kajang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia
In 1975, researchers discovered that the cadang-cadang disease in the Philippines is caused by a viroid related to the coconut tinangaja viroid (CTiVd) which is the causal agent of tinangaja, a similar disease that occurs only in Guam. The basic epidemiology of both these diseases is still unknown (Hanold and Randles 1991a). In 1989 a research team at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute (WARI), University of Adelaide in Australia discovered RNA sequences which hybridize with the probe used to detect CCCVd. These sequences were found in coconut and oil palm, as well as in samples of other monocotyledons obtained from locations outside the Philippines (Hanold and Randles 1991b, 1994). Reports of this discovery have alarmed authorities who make regulatory decisions about coconut quarantine.
The Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Coconut Germplasm, published by FAO and IPGRI in 1993, inform quarantine authorities of the concern regarding viroid-like RNA molecules. It is recommended that until more is known about their significance and distribution, all coconut germplasm introduced from countries where these molecules are known to occur to countries where these molecules have not yet been reported should be indexed (Frison et al. 1993). Because of the confidentiality of the research results, as mentioned above, no list of countries where the viroid-like molecules are known to occur is given. Therefore, the Guidelines were criticized as being inadequate.
Recognizing the necessity of resolving the issue of viroid-like sequences in coconuts, ACIAR, IPGRI and COGENT organized a workshop in Kuala Lumpur, at which participants from laboratories in Australia, France, Italy and the Philippines presented summaries of their research and discussed the quarantine relevance of the viroid-like sequences in coconuts. The meeting participants formulated a research agenda to close apparent research gaps. The results of the workshop, including the recommendations for treatment of coconut viroids and viroid-like sequences, are presented in this report. It is hoped that implementation of these recommendations will open the way for essential exchange and movement of coconut germplasm, while at the same time preventing the spread of pathogens.
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Coconut Embryo In Vitro Culture: Proceedings of the first workshop on Embryo Culture 27-31 October 1997 Banao, Philippines (Table of contents)
The development and refinement of embryo culture and acclimatization techniques is imperative as a complement to the use of seednuts for safe movement of gemplasm is urgently needed. Hence, this workshop hosted by the PCA-Albay Research Center in Guinobatan, Albay, Philippines. The workshop was attended by 12 leading embryo culture practitioners from 10 countries of Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin-America.
The workshop was funded by the Common Fund for Commodities and the DFID. This workshop reviews the status of the technology, upgrades and standardizes embryo culture and acclimatization techniques and develops coordinated experiments to test the upgraded technology upon return of the participants to their duty station.