Background, overview and objectivesGlobally, coconuts support more than 10 million sustainable livelihoods, providing materials for food and shelter; helping stabilize farming-systems, and generating income and employment. Benefits from better access to improved planting materials and management, post-harvest technologies and new marketing opportunities are likely to accrue to the poorest of rural populations, providing project strategies are explicit in this regard. Coconut is often the most viable cash crop, especially in Asia-Pacific countries such as India and the Philippines, and partly owing to its non-perishability and product-diversity. Coconut systems also allow for other cash crops to be intercropped, generating additional income. Global demand for coconut oil, and copra/ coconut oil prices have recently increased although price volatility remains a constraint.
Harnessing and conserving agro-biodiversity is critical to coconut production and its future. Bioversity International continues to support the development of a progressive global strategy for conserving coconut germplasm. It aims to cost-effectively optimize conservation of as much representative diversity as possible for the short, medium and long term.
The International Coconut Genebank (ICG), established to enable the efficient conservation, evaluation and safe movement of coconut germplasm, is composed of five regional field genebanks. These are hosted by Indonesia for Southeast and East Asia, Papua New Guinea for the South Pacific, India for South Asia, Côte d’Ivoire for Africa and the Indian Ocean, and Brazil for Latin America and the Caribbean. The regional field genebanks are established, maintained and managed by national programmes with guidance from the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT). This was founded by Bioversity International in 1992, as a global network of coconut producing countries, aimed at improving the production and use of coconut and the conservation of its diversity.
The ICG serves to:
- Conserve nationally and regionally identified priority diversity;
- Conserve internationally identified priority diversity;
- Further assess the diversity, evaluate the performance of the conserved germplasm and disseminate these information
- Make germplasm available in accordance with agreed protocols; and
- Conduct research and training
The aim of the project:
Funded by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and operating in Côte d’Ivoire, the project aims to regenerate 50 ageing coconut accessions held in the International Coconut Genebank for Africa and the Indian Ocean (ICG-IAO).
By February 2010, the completion rate of the project was estimated at 72%: 32 of the 50 accessions (64%) have reached a sufficient number of palms planted in the field, 10 more have been partially replanted. The project is being implemented by Bioversity International in partnership with CNRA, Côte d’Ivoire through its Coconut Programme. The project has continued clearing and planting activities, and gathering, inputting and transferring data from both rejuvenated and parent accessions. Field visits have appraised progress in planting and data management and helped frame plans for the no-cost extension (to 31/01/2011) to complete the regeneration work.
Agrobiodiversity, Crops, Accessions, Coconut, Genebank, Genetic Resources, Regeneration