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Varietal Improvement In Coconut In Indonesia

Seed is one of the important components in the cultivation of crops. The desirable coconut traits in varieties for coconut farmers are: (1) Trunked short, and slowly to become height, (2) Early bearing, (3) high yielding of fruits, or coconut sap. Coconut varieties commonly cultivated by coconut farmers are the tall type, which is about 98% of the total coconut area. In general, the coconut trees in the plantations are aged over 60 years and have a trunk with height above 20 m. During the past 10 years, it is  difficult to get workers/coconut climbers to harvest every 2-3 months. As a result, the cost price of the harvest is high, and if followed by low copra prices, the farmers income would be very low. Almost the same problem is faced when tapping of sap is done to produce coconut sugar. Every year, it  was reported that around 70 people died falling  down from coconut tree while tapping the coconut sap. The young men in the villages are not interested to work as coconut climber or for tapping sap from the high trees. During the last few years, the supply of coconut sugar for soy product is diminishing due to stagnant production.  It is necessary to plant coconut palms which have a short trunk that makes it easy to harvest fruit or sap, and at the same time, maintaining the high fruit production and quality similar with tall coconut. During exploration of coconut germplasm in Morotai island, North Maluku Province, a unique coconut variety was found in comparison to the other local talls or dwarfs. It is named the Coconut Bido variety. The Bido coconut begins flowering at the age of 3 years , the production of copra is over 4 tons and a short trunk with a  slow growth in height. The height of trunk varies between <1 m at 5 years age to 11 m when 40 years old, whereas the local tall at the same age is more than 20 m high. The Bido coconut has been collected as germplasm and activities will be initiated to establish the seed garden. Coconut hybridisation was  done between Dwarf coconuts x Bido coconut. The Bido coconut is very suitable for coconut farmers for more easy harvest, tapping sap for coconut sugar and high yield of copra.


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