Kochi, 10 July, 2012
The 16th International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) Steering Committee Meeting was held at Kochi, India, from 8 to 10th July, 2012 under the aegis of Bioversity International and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The Steering Committee Meeting was inaugurated on the 8th July 2012 by Dr H P Singh, the Deputy Director General (Horticulture) , ICAR. The meeting was chaired by Dr Allou, COGENT chair from Côte d’Ivoire. Dr. Romulo Arancon, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), Dr Paula Bramel of Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT), Dr George V. Thomas, Director, Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) and Dr Roland Bourdeix, COGENT Coordinator spoke on the occasion. Dr H P Singh in his inaugural address called upon the global community to address the challenges in the coconut sector to improve overall productivity and profitability of coconut. He emphasized that global gene banks require financing for better maintenance of the genetic wealth and the possibility of funding through CGIAR needs to be explored.
India, represented by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), has been one of the active members of the COGENT Steering Committee since its inception in 1992, owing to its contribution to coconut genetic resources conservation. India has one of the largest collection of diverse coconut germplasm in the world and also hosts the International Coconut Genebank for South Asia. The coconut germplasm available in India has been utilized for coconut improvement and has resulted in the development of 34 improved varieties for cultivation in different states in the country for higher productivity and tender nut purpose. India has hosted the COGENT SC meeting earlier in 2001 and 2005 and now in 2012.
The 16th COGENT SC meeting included COGENT participants from 14 coconut growing countries: China, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, Brazil and also representatives from the Asian Pacific Coconut Community, Coconut Development Board, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Bioversity International as well as the private sector from India and Brazil.
The deliberations were undertaken in a total of 10 technical sessions. As an outcome of the meeting, focused recommendations were finalized for shaping research on coconut conservation and utilization in the 39 COGENT country members.
The COGENT Steering Committee (COGENT SC) meeting concluded on the 10th July 2012 with the revamping of the committee including representatives from the five coconut growing regions, the five ICGs at Indonesia (SE Asia), India (S. Asia), Brazil (Caribbean), Cote d’Ivoire (Africa and Indian Ocean) and Papua New Guinea (Pacific Ocean), Asian Pacific Coconut Community, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the COGENT Coordinator. Dr. George V. Thomas, Director, CPCRI was unanimously selected as the Chairman of the COGENT Steering Committee.