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Coconut Genetic Resources Into The 21st Century

As we enter the 21 st century, the coconut industry is beset by production and marketing problems which render the coconut glo­ bally uncompetitive.The production problem is rooted in the low yields and consequent low farmer productivity and unstable yield security. The production problems can be alleviated by strategic genetic re­ sources, work involving effective collecting, conserving and utilizing germplasm resources to tap a wider genetic base to incorporate precocity yield, adaptation and resistance in present and future varieties. The marketing problem can be alleviated by effective inte­ gration of supply and demand, including the conduct of aggressive research on alternative uses of the coconut to transform traditional raw materials into high-value products.The strategy for the conduct of research on coconut genetic resources and the technical, management, policy and financial requirements to make it sustain­ able are discussed. Regardless of how valid the strategy and how effective the proposed activities are, in the end the sustainability of coconut production will depend on the political will that coconut- producing countries can muster to save the industry.

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