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Future Prospects For High Yielding Coconut Varieties In The Hands Of Smallholders

A large proportion of the world’s coconut groves have reached  a stage of senility  and ought to be replanted. One of the questions arising, which is very acute in the case of small growers, is the choice of planting material to be used on these soils which have very often been impoverished by decades of cultivation with no fertilizers. The results obtained by IRHO in Cote d'Ivoire and throughout the world have removed any doubt as to the interest of hybrids. The best combinations have a production potential more than twice that of traditional tall varieties that have undergone mass selection . Hybrids tolerant of certain  lethal or debilitating diseases have been created. Initial attempts to use hybrids on smallholdings came up against socio-economic difficulties, but these now seen to be subsiding and the great majority of growers ask for hybrid seedlings. The next generation of hybrids should better meet growers’ requirements, and more specifically those of small scale farmers. Much more intense exploitation of the coconut’s genetic  variability  should m ake it possible to obtain hybrids which, in addition to their better  precocity  and higher yields, will be particularly well adapted to a given environment or tolerant of a given disease. To achieve this, it is essential that true cooperation be established between research centres. It would be a good thing if the initiatives already under way to strengthen  research  and programme coordination came to fruition.

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