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Farmer's Perception Of High Yielding Coconut Varieties

Despite having a history of over a half a century in the production and distribution of hybrids in India, Sri Lanka and Ivory Coast and over 30 years in most other countries, the achievements have so far not become manifest either in the global output of coconut oil or in its export volume. Different combinations of Tall x Tall types has been evolved in Indonesia, lvory Coast, Sri Lanka. Thailand, Vanuatu etc, and the experience in these countries is that Tall x Tall hybrids are superior to the open pollinated progenies of tall but, in general, they do not out yield  intervarietal hybrids. A large number of intervarietal hybrids are now available in all the coconut growing countries for cultivation by the farmers. In a Farmer Participatory Research conducted in Kerala State. India in 1998 the general assessment of farmers was that the hybrids arc precocious, medium statured and productive under good management. At the same time they do not tolerate harsh soil and climatic conditions, are more prone to pest and disease attack and fail to produce normal yield of nuts under average management. In this study the hybrids were rated best only in early bearing and production of more number of nuts. As regards to preference of fanners, it was only 5.3% for hybrids and in future plantings, hybrids will form only 5-6%. APCC has conducted two studies, one in 1988 and the other in 1998, to assess the experience of farmers with high yielding varieties of coconut including hybrids. In the first study there were 740 responses of satisfaction of which 410 or 55% were in favour of hybrids. However, there were also 457 responses of dissatisfaction of which 243 or 53.2% were attributed to hybrids. Slight improvement in the degree of satisfaction with hybrids was observed in the 1998 study. Hybrids scored 70% favourable responses against 55% of the previous study. Similarly, the responses of dissatisfaction with hybrids showed a marginal decline to 235 from 243 of the previous study. In the 1998 study, varietal preference of farmers for future plantings was recorded through 381 responses. Of the total, 55.6% were in favour of planting hybrids. 28% were in favour of planting local talls and or selected talls and the remaining were for dwarf and miscellaneous other types. Proper extension education and services are essential to make the farmers conscious of the management needs of hybrids for reaping the expected benefits from their cultivation, it is also important to evolve better hybrids possessing higher production potential and devoid of undesirable traits for introducing to low external input farming situations.

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