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Prococos A Global Programme For Coconut Research

Promoting mtemational co-operation on major commodities, especially those not currently included in the mandate of the international agricultural research centres, has been identified by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) as one of its priorities. GFAR recognized the importance of these commodities for millions of smallholder farmers and the role this sector can play in poverty alleviation. The "commodity chain" approach has been identified as a suitable mechanism for addressing the research needs of these internationally important commodities. Such an approach requires that all aspects of the production to consumption system be considered when assessing and prioritising research needs of the commodity. The 'Global Programme' concept as developed for Musa Improvement {?R.0h4USA) was recognized as a model for facilitating and promoting mtemational co-operation in agricultural research. Thus GFAR proposes to use the Global Programme concept as a valuable tool to promote partnership among the various stakeholders in other commodity chains. The coconut community has a long history of supporting collaborative research projects and promoting research co-operation. This collaboration has often been used in attempting to offset the lack of funding for intemational coconut research, but the research community has repeatedly expressed the need for a more stmctured global approach. The GFAR meeting in Dresden in May 2000 was an opportunity to propose to the intemational agricultural research community the establishment of a Global Research Programme for Coconut (PROCOCOS). The proposal was well received and it was recommended to further facilitate the establishment of PROCOCOS. This paper describes the guiding principles of PROCOCOS, which include that the organisational structure be simple and efficient, and that the programme should not be directive, but act as a facilitator of partnerships. It is proposed that, under the umbrella of a Coconut Programme Support Group, a Steering Committee would supervise the progress made by the Programme and issue consultative views on research and development priorities, and promote important activities. The programme would be supported by a small secretariat, staffed by a full time scientific co-ordinator and part time support staff. Thematic working groups and regional networks would play a key role in the implementation of the Programme. The programme content will consist of coconut research projects already under way and new collaborative projects identified by the stakeholders and developed in the thematic working groups. Each member would cover its own costs of participating in the programme. Resources for the running of the secretariat would be provided by participants and would be sought from donors.

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