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Developments In Coconut Biotechnology To Promote Sustainable Production

Biotechnologies are generally conducted by highly skilled scientists using sophisticated equipment and complicated techniques in expensive laboratories. To the layperson, the relation between biotechnologies and sustainable development may remain obscure and remote. Biotechnologies however are playing an ever- increasing role in the development of agricultural production and processmg. The present paper briefly describes the main research areas grouped under the term of biotechnology: molecular techniques, in-vitro culture, genetic transformation, bioprocessing. It provides a few examples of applications to coconut breeding, cultivation and processmg. Although these techniques offer tremendous new opportumties for research, they should not be seen as a substitute for other studies, and especially for field studies. The objective should be to link these different research components together to increase the efficiency of research and provide faster and better solutions to the problems of the coconut industry. Biotechnologies are being used in coconut research and organizations like COGENT and BUROTROP are actively promoting more developments in this direction. It is essential that the main players in the industry recognize the importance of these efforts for the future of coconut and support them with a firm commitment both in terms of policies and funding.

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