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The Natural Way Of Producing Elite Coconut Planting Materials (The Synthetic Process In Breeding Parlance)

Started way back in the late 1970's, the Philippine Coconut Authority initiated the development of an open pollinated variety or OPV of coconut through the synthetic variety approach. With some modifications in the classical breeding method, a scheme was put together to produce the base population of a modified synthetic coconut variety using 15 single crosses from six tall coconut cultivars, (e.g., LAGT. BAOT, BAYT, TAGT, WAT and PIT) that were previously found to possess good general combining ability. Field planting of the 15 t x t Fi base populations represented by about 1,807 individual palms was done in August 1992. The palms were planted at random at a distance of 8.5 m triangular in a 14-hectare field at the PCA Zamboanga Research Center in San Ramon, Zamboanga City. The parental hybrids reached productivity at an early age of 4 to 5 years from field planting. Since then, observations on growth and development, flowering and early yield performance of the materials as well as initial distribution for the field testing of "bulked" Syn i seednuts Jrom the plantation had been made. The results obtained after 8.5 years have been very encouraging. This report describes the initial progress of the project and provides insights into the potential of this unconventional coconut breeding method in developing elite planting materials. Unlike in theFj hybrid-breeding program wherein seed production depends on costly seedgardens, the current program could ensure the sustainable development of elite coconut planting matenals. which the farmers can use again and again as an improved genetic resource for copra production and as planting material.

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