Conduct of scientific conferences is a plausible approach to have a better assessment of the status of the scientific development in the relevant field of coconut research to support conservation, exchange and use of genetic resources such as agronomy, crop protection, biotechnology, breeding and tissue culture. These are the priority thematic agenda that need to be given full attention and support to ensure the sustainability and enhancement of the genebank management towards conservation and better germplasm exchange. This will serve as the platform for researchers to introduce and present their works to establish connectivity so that they can exchange knowledge and share significant research outputs. Moreover, this will expand the scope of COGENT’s link to the scientific communities, not only from the current membership of ITAGs but also to engage the academic and research institutions working on these fields of coconut thematic areas. This will also engage the production sector as the basic element of the supply value chain of the industry. Through the conference, research directions will be guided by the feedback and need assessment of the industry stakeholders, and the farmers in particular.
Through researchers linked to COGENT’s four international thematic action groups (ITAGs), this conference will address the issues associated with updating and implementing COGENT’s Global Strategy for conserving and using coconut genetic resources. The ITAGs focus on i) Ex and In-situ Conservation; ii) Genomics and Breeding; iii) Phytopathology, Entomology and Germplasm movement, and iv) In vitro tissue culture and cryopreservation. The global economic outlook for coconut is extremely positive, as global demand continues to increase. Coconut offers an increasingly relevant, climate-resilient component of production systems worldwide.
Addressing supply requirements and product quality are essential for achieving demand-driven industry prosperity. Part of this will be through safely harnessing improved germplasm, and using quality planting material to ensure higher and more sustainable productivity (Johnson et al., 2023). However, coconut diversity is seriously threatened by climate change, rising sea levels, and changes in land use, including urbanization. Availability of a wide coconut genetic diversity is important for breeding climate-resilient, pest-resistant, productive varieties, which will better cater for industry needs, including marginalized groups (often women). Globally, hundreds of millions of unproductive, senile palms also need replacing with better varieties, as part of the Global COGENT Strategy,
From the recent consultative workshop of the International Thematic Action Groups (ITAGs) of COGENT, the key concerns and areas of collaborative research activities were identified. From these key areas, scientific processes have to be undertaken to strategically address the challenges and gaps to have better conservation, exchange and use of the germplasm. Currently, limited resources and researchers work on these various aspects, thus, it is imperative to create a big network of coconut researchers as a forthright attempt to pool efforts and establish the global advancement of research initiatives. As such, this will open up the coconut research arena to the promising works and generate innovations that will strengthen the foundation of science-based support to conservation, exchange and use the coconut genetic resources and the technologies as tool in modernizing coconut farming. This scientific conference was conceptualized as the logical platform to gather experts, scientists, researchers and academic practitioners working on coconut research with the engagement of the private and production sector. This will expand the reach of research works and to provide the appropriate use of technologies that pertains and related to conservation, exchange and use of genetic resources with the feedback from private sector and farmers group as ultimate end-users.