The coconut water industry in Guyana is booming! However, current production is insufficient in meeting the market demands. At the Agri-Investment Forum held earlier this year, the Government of Guyana, announced their intention to broaden the genetic base of coconuts, by introducing new superior varieties to improve production. To assist, CARDI under the EU/CARIFORUM financed Regional Coconut project (Coconut II) organized and participated in a visit to Tecnologia Na Produção De Coqueiros (COHIBRA’s) Coconut Seed Nut Farm in Brazil.
The purpose was to assess the feasibility of importing 1,000 seed nuts of the Brazilian Green Dwarf variety to Guyana, and to inspect COHIBRA’s production process – ensuring it satisfies Guyana’s plant quarantine requirements. Improving the supply of quality planting material in the Region, is a strategic objective of the Coconut II project.
It was agreed that 1,000 seed nuts would be imported into Guyana, due to similar growing conditions between both countries, and the variety’s ideal characteristics which includes its resistance to the Lethal Yellowing Disease. Following the quarantine period the seed nuts will be evaluated at the Hope Estate and at the National Agricultural and Research and Extension Institute (NAREI). Once evaluations are successful, farmers will be supplied with seed nuts for planting out. The agencies will continue to monitor the performance of these plants on farm.
CARDI’s Officer-in-Charge, Jhaman Kundun described this as an, “Exciting initiative since numerous studies have shown Guyana’s coconut industry is being impeded by old plantations (senile trees), and underperforming traditional varieties.” Higher yielding new varieties like the Brazilian Green Dwarf -a desirable water nut variety, will provide farmers with improved yields and higher incomes. Most importantly broadening the genetic base, improves the crop’s resilience to climate change.
COHIBRA is a research facility located in Fortaleza, specializing in the production of genetically superior coconut cultivars and coconut pollen – the latter primarily used in their hybridization programme. To date COHIBRA has supplied 2,000,000 seeds, and coconut seedlings for both hybrids and dwarves to the local and international markets.
Accompanying CARDI on this field visit were senior representatives from NAREI, Hope Coconut Industries Limited (Hope Estate) and the National Plant Protection Organisation.