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Right coconut hybrids for higher returns

By Our Agriculture Correspondent



A hybrid coconut tree with hefty bunches.

IN COCONUT cultivation, farmers should take special care in selecting appropriate coconut hybrids that are ideally suited to the agro-climatic conditions of their area in general, and their holdings in particular, according to Dr. P. M. Kumaran, Head of the Crop Improvement division, Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragode, Kerala.

They should take special precaution regarding the quality of the planting material especially when they opt for the cultivation of hybrids," says Dr. Kumaran. Hybrids show earliness in flowering, and give higher yield of nuts, copra and oil when compared to their parents. The first coconut hybrid in the world was developed in India in 1930s with West Coast Tall (WCT) as female parent and Chowghat Green Dwarf (CGD) as male parent.

To develop Tall X Dwarf (T X D) hybrids, a tall variety is used as the female parent and the dwarf as the male parent. In evolving Dwarf X Tall (D X T) hybrids, the dwarf varieties are selected as female parent and the tall as the male parent. Inter varietal hybrids such as Tall X Tall and Dwarf X Dwarf are also produced. "In India so far eleven coconut are released for commercial cultivation," he explains.

The popular hybrids reigning south India are Chandra Sankara, Kera Sankara, Chandra Laksha, Laksha Ganga, Kera Ganga. Ananda Ganga, Kera Sree, Kera Sowbhagya, VHC-1, VHC-2 and Godavari Ganga. Some hybrids such as Chandra Sankara and Kera Sankara can yield more than 210 nuts per palm in a year. They yield high quality copra with oil content exceeding 68 per cent, according to Dr. Kumaran. Both these two hybrids are popular in Kerala, while Kera Sankara is also found ideal for cultivation in Coastal Maharashtra and Coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The other hybrids, which yield between 116 to 186 nuts per palm in a year, are Chandra Laksha, Laksha Ganga, Kera Sree and Kera Sowbhagya, and they are also released for commercial cultivation in Kerala. They also produced high quality copra with oil content ranging between 65 to 68 per cent. Ananda Ganga and Kera Ganga are two hybrids with average yields hovering between 95 to 100 nuts per palm in a year.

VHC-1 is a hybrid released for cultivation in Tamil Nadu. It yields about 98 nuts per palm in a year, and it produces good quality copra with an oil content of 70 per cent. VHC-2 is another hybrid suitable for cultivation in Tamil Nadu.

This hybrid with a potential to yield 107 nuts per palm in a year, also produces high quality copra with 69 per cent oil content. Godavari Ganga is the hybrid developed for growing in Andhra Pradesh, and it has a potential to yield of 140 nuts per palm in a year. It produces good quality copra with an oil content of 68 per cent, according to Dr. Kumaran.

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