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Development Of Environment - Friendly Coconut Varieties

Results of completed, on-going and planned researeh activities indicate a high potential for developing and promoting enviromnent-fiiendly coconut varieties and hybrids which could provide maximum benefits to the envirorunent and poor coconut farmers. Researeh to screen varieties for adverse enviromnents indicate that there are germplasm materials which could be used to develop varieties and hybrids for drought-prone and tidal and swampy areas and areas affected by the lethal yellowing disease. In India, 10 genotypes were found to possess desirable traits for drought tolerance such as low transpiration rate, high leaf water potential, high leaf-wax content and relatively stable enzyme activity during moisture stress and that two of the hybrids showed significant correlation between physiological parameters and yield. In Sri Lanka, in vitro techniques and physiological parameters for screening drought tolerance have been developed. In Indonesia, two hybrids have been selected which could produce 180%-200% the yield of the traditional tall variety under tidal swampy conditions. In Jamaica, the 'Malaysian Yellow Dwarf ' and its hybrid (MAYPAN) with Panama Tall, 3 dwarfs from India and Sri Lanka, and the 'Malayan Dwarf  x 'Niu Leka' hybrid have shown resistance to the lethal yellowing disease.

There is also a high potential for developing varieties and hybrids which are beneficial to poor coconut farmers. A survey conducted by APCC in 1988-89 involving 8 countries indicated that 2 hybrids in Vanuatu and another 2 in Indonesia could produce about 5 MT and 4 MT copra per ha, respectively. This study will be updated in 1997-1998 involving 18 countries. In addition, EPGRI/COGENT is undertaking a hybrid/variety multilocation trial involving 3 Aftican and 3 LAC countries and germplasm evaluation in 4 Pacific countries; researeh on coconut-based farming systems as a means to increase farm productivity and enhance in situ and ex situ conservation in 7 countries; and researeh to identify multi-purpose uses and value-added products to increase farmer incomes and promote fanner participatory germplasm conservation and use in 14 Asia-Pacific countries.

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