From Tall to Dwarf types
In the Solomon islands, and especially in Guadalcanal, a new strain of the Oryctes beetle is rapidly destroying the coconut plantations. Most old Tall-type coconut palms seem doomed because it is almost impossible to carry out health monitoring and eradication of insects in leaf crowns on palms over fifteen meters high. This monitoring would be much easier on Compact Dwarf varieties whose trunk height does not exceed three meters in the first fifteen years of production.
Thus, taking into account the long delay needed to breed coconut varieties, there is an urgent need to integrate as soon as possible the Compact Dwarfs in coconut breeding programs worldwide. Pollen and/or embryos of Compact and "Super" Dwarfs could be collected directly from farmer’s fields and sent to the gene banks and to the coconut breeders working in various producing countries.
From heterogenerous varieties to uniform, reproducible and predictable cultivars
Our interactions with farmers showed that most of them would like to plant “real” cultivars, i.e. «often intentionally bred and selected subset of a species that will behave uniformly and predictably when grown in an environment to which it is adapted”. Farmers want precocious, high yielding varieties, adapted to markets needs, growing predictably and uniformly. Farmers prefer a diversity of planting material, but they want to control this diversity. For instance many farmers are fed up to see, in the same field, palms with bad and good yields, small and big fruits, germinating slowly or rapidly, with thin and thick kernels. If they have the choice, we trust that most of farmers will choose to plant more than one cultivar in their fields, as far as these cultivars meet their requirements.
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