Polymotu in practice

On the small islands of the Pacific, it is proposed for the planting of only three coconut varieties: a ‘green tall’ such as niu afa, ‘Malayan red dwarf’, and ‘Tahiti red dwarf’. Subsequently, six new varieties will be produced from this mix without any costly controlled pollination programme. And, farmers will have a diversity of coconut varieties to choose from. It is important to spend time with the people living on the islands to identify existing varieties and to progressively remove existing coconuts once the new palms begin to bear. This is a collective decision that village authorities need to agree on. The long-term benefits are continued biodiversity.

You may remember that from a piece from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community that I think we may have Nibbled, or worse, a couple of years back. Anyway, if that’s the theory, here’s the practice:

“We are not making a coconut plantation, we are landscaping an island, so the important thing is to make it pretty.”

That’s Dr Roland Bourdeix, starting about 4:20 mins in. ((Thanks to Jim Croft for highlighting, and transcribing, the soundbite over on Facebook.)) It’s his idea to plant small Pacific islands to just one or two coconut varieties, rather than bringing lots of different varieties together in a genebank. In what he calls the Polymotu Approach to coconut conservation, you let the coconuts themselves — and isolation — do the hard work of controlled pollination. The coconut conservationist just gets to travel from isolated island paradise to isolated island paradise, making sure that everything is ok, taking the odd measurement, and packing up coconuts for shipment when someone else somewhere else in the world wants that particular accession. Nice gig if you can get it.

2 Replies to “Polymotu in practice”

  1. Thanks , Dr. Luigi
    look over many crop ,yesterday from Japan ,and this coconut varieties !!!
    On the small islands of the Pacific ,the people are poor and indeed need to support from rich country …..this hard work from you to follow in each place in the worl ,God Bless you

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