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Assesment Of Experience With High Yielding Varieties Of Coconut In Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, coconut research is handled by the Saraoutou Research Station that was created in 1962 and managed by IRHO. New varieties were introduced with the aim of producing high yielding hybrids to rejuvenate the aging coconut groves. A disease Foliar Decay transmitted by Myndus taffini killed many of the introduced palms. Only the local varieties Vanuatu Tall (VTT) and dwarf (VRD) are fully resistant to the disease. Their respectiv   productio ns are of the orders of 2.5 tons/copra/ha/year, for the VTT and of 3 to tons/copra/ha/year, for the hybrid. Work was 4  oriented then towards improvement of these varieties and research on disease resistant hybrids. Out of 37 hybrid that have been tested one is resistant to the disease, (VRD x VTT) while 3 others combining VTT with Rennell Tall, Brazilian green dwarf or Malayan Yellow dwarf have shown low susceptibility. While research work is going on, a replanting programme is in progress utilizing improved VTT or VRD x VTT in areas where risks of disease are high. Initially smallholders had some reluctance in accepting the new varieties but this is declining gradually due to training of farmers and visits to experimental fields and to smallholders plantations where these materials were adopted.


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