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Technology Transfer In Coconut Cultivation: The Quest For A Better Approach

Asia has seen outstanding successes in increasing cereal production. Significant achievements have been noted in oil palm, coconut, cacao and rubber. Yet, the yields in farmers' field are much less than those in research or demonstration plots, a trend very common in coconut cultivation in the Asia and the Pacific.  In the case of coconut cultivation, only a handful of technologies have been adopted readily A significant number of technologies have hardly been adopted in almost the entirety of Asia. On the other hand, technologies on high yielding varieties, fertilizer use etc. on which a very high proportion of research funds and time have been spent have had lity6ted success. In spite of technological advances, coconut production in the major coconut growing countries, in the Asia has been stagnant. This paper examines the adoption of improved coconut varieties, fertilizer recommendations, organic manures and intercropping and the major reasons for their limited success. The situation with regard to the transfer and adoption of coconut technologies in a number of Asian and Pacific countries is reviewed, and the major short-comings are highlighted.  It would appear from the evidence presented that, by and large, the lower adoption of technologies is due to the fact that farmers were not convinced about the benefits of the technologies. A number of extraneous socio-economic factors, with unstable farm-gate price, of coconut as the predominant factor, have nullified the benefits of new technologies resulting in, poor adoption. Incompletely tested technologies and a high proportion of irrelevant, nonproductive and often poor quality research have contributed to the current state of affairs.  More importantly, the identification of research problems appears flawed. There is little evidence that research is geared to solving the problems of the fanner, and the participation of the grower and the extension agent in formulating the coconut research agenda is lacking. A fundamental change to the current process of problem identification and research prioritization is proposed, with participation of all stake-holders emphasised.  A fresh approach to technology transfer in coconut with participatory on-farm adaptive research trials, demonstration trials and packaging of complimentary technologies is suggested to overcome the current stalemate in technology transfer in coconut.

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