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Coconut-producing countries meet in Sri Lanka to discuss the future of coconut genetic resources conservationWednesday, July 09, 2014 > 09:09:59
The Steering Committee of the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) will meet at the Sri Lankan Coconut Research Institute (CRI), Lunuwila, Sri Lanka from the 13th to 16th July 2014, to finalize a new Global Strategy for the better conservation and use of coconut genetic resources.
Apart from its obvious importance to Sri Lanka, coconut is grown in around 100 tropical countries, on more than 12 million hectares and by countless homesteads, and is culturally and economically important to millions of smallholder households. The future of coconut production and associated livelihoods critically depends on its broad genetic diversity. Further investment is needed to build coconut stakeholders’ capacity and resources across the value-chain, particularly for genetic resources conservation. The Global Strategy for coconut conservation and use marks a route to enhanced wellbeing for millions of coconut smallholders across the globe.
The Sri Lankan Minister for Coconut Development, the honourable Mr Jagath Pushpakumara will inaugurate the meeting. The Sri Lankan Coconut Research Institute is co-hosting the meeting, directly after the Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) biennial COCOTECH meeting in Colombo. The COGENT Steering Committee meeting theme is directly complementary to the COCOTECH theme of Policies, Programmes and Technologies Towards a Resilient and Sustainable Coconut Sector, where coconut stakeholders will have exchanged ideas on new technologies, processes, products, market trends and prospects.
The 18 meeting participants will represent eight coconut growing countries (Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Tanzania) and international organizations APCC (PNG/ Indonesia), Bioversity International/ CGIAR (France), and CIRAD (France). Sri Lanka will be represented by Dr Lalith Perera, Head of the Genetics and Plant Breeding Division of the Sri Lankan Coconut Research Institute (CRI).
COGENT was created in 1992 by Bioversity International and the CGIAR. The network gathers 39 coconut-producing countries representing more than 98% of the 60 million tonne global coconut production.