Tratado Internacional sobre los Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Safeguarding threatened coconut diversity within the upgraded International Coconut Genebank for the South Pacific
Where are we working?

Coconuts are an integral part of Pacific island culture and represent an essential dietary supplement, as well as a source of regular income for Pacific communities. The Pacific region has a diverse range of coconut varieties and cultivars, some of which are conserved in the International Coconut Genebank for the South Pacific (ICG-SP) at Stewart Research Station in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). This regional collection has been threatened by pests and diseases and duplication of priority coconut accessions is urgent. This project aims to supplement onongoing efforts to relocate the ICG-SP in PNG and provide an optional ex-situ safety duplication of the ICG-SP collections in both Fiji and Samoa.

What are we doing?

The project is being implemented by The Pacific Community (SPC), in partnership with the Pacific island countries of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa and the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT). It aims to safeguard critical coconut germplasm, boosting its wider use, and contributing to a more stable future for coconut breeding and coconut-based livelihoods. A major objective of this project is to encourage and establish a foundation for participatory selection of cultivars by coconut farming communities in each country, as a basis for in-situ conservation of important ecotypes
What has been achieved to date?

Currently, country partners are preparing to identify coconut cultivars that are of priority for their local communities. This identification is based on selection criteria that align with the COGENT Global Strategy 2018–2028. It is envisaged that country extension officers will consult with local farming communities to gauge opinion and document stakeholder preferences of different coconut varieties.
Who has benefited?

The project is of benefit to smallholder coconut farmers from the participating countries and beyond. Access to a wider range of more resilient coconut varieties will lead to increased productivity and on-farm incomes, increased availability of diverse nutrient-rich food, reduced adverse impacts to the environment, and enhanced resilience to production shocks. Most importantly, key coconut biodiversity for food security will be safeguarded for the future.

Best practices and success stories

So far, lists of criteria for partner countries on which to base their selections of coconut varieties for conservation have been well received, and work on identification of these cultivars has started. Samoa has identified its priority target varieties for conservation from existing stocks. However, further prospecting may reveal new varieties of value.
Region: South West Pacific
Target Countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa
Implementing institution: The Pacific Community (SPC)
Partners involved: COGENT/ICC
Contact details: Dr Carmel Pilotti

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