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24.02.2005 General News

CSIR discovers disease resistant coconut

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Takoradi Feb.24 GNA- The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has discovered three coconut varieties that are resistant to the Lethal Yellowing Disease (LYD) or the Cape Saint Paul Wilt Disease (CSPWD).

The varieties, which have been subjected to 21 years of resistance screening are: the Sri Lanka Green Dwarf, Vanuatu Tall and Malayan Yellow Dwarf.

This was contained in a press release issued by the CSIR after a visit by Mr Pierre Jacquemot, French Ambassador to the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of the Coconut Sector Development Project (CSDP) in Takoradi on Thursday.

The release said, "Ghana has become the first country in Africa and the second in the world to have succeeded in finding tolerance for the Lethal Yellowing Disease".

It said the research had already impacted positively on Ghana's agriculture, making it possible for the government to launch a coconut rehabilitation programme funded by the Agence Francaise de Developpment in 1999 following the destruction of large percent of coconut plantations in the Western and Central regions.

The release said the programme was aimed at replanting coconut in areas devastated by the disease in the country. It said a new seed garden planted under the CSDP would soon produce high yielding disease resistant coconut.

The release said the project would also make it possible for the country to plant over 1000 hectares of coconut resistant to the disease and reduce importation of pollen.

It said the Ghanaian Research team is also in the final stages of evaluating and releasing another hybrid, which is also tolerant to CSPWD.

It said research on the control of the rhinoceros beetle had resulted in the discovery of a non-polluting method of control through the use of discarded old fishing nets.

The release said research into the biological control of termites and rhinoceros beetle had yielded positive results with the identification of two fungi, which can kill the pests.

It said the French Government supported the CSDP with 400 million Euros and provided state of the art equipment worth 35,000 euro for the molecular laboratory. 24 Feb. 05

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