Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Workshop on Lethal Yellowing Diseases on coconut

A workshop on Lethal Yellowing Disease, one of the main pandemic diseases affecting coconut worldwide was held in Accra 3rd of June.

The workshop was organised with the support of the French Ambassador in Ghana, Centre for International Cooperation in Agric Research and development, and in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,and the Forum for Agriculture Research in Ghana.

Coconut lethal yellowing disease has been devastating plantations in Ghana at regular intervals since 1932. CIRAD and the Ghanaian Oil Palm Research Institute are currently testing the disease resistance of various coconut hybrids obtained by crossing "Tall" and "Dwarf" varieties. Coconut is a major source of income for farmers along the Ghanaian coast. However, it has been hit by the devastating effects of a small wall-less bacterium, a phytoplasma, which causes coconut lethal yellowing disease.

Lethal yellowing is a phytoplasma disease of coconut and other palms. Susceptible palms die within 3 to 6 months of the first symptoms. It is epidemic on the Gulf and Caribbean coasts of Mexico and in Belize and Honduras where hundreds of thousands of palms are dying. When the disease was active in Jamaica and Florida, in the 1960s and 70s an International Council on Lethal Yellowing (ICLY) was set up. It was supported by the FAO, the Coconut Industry Board, Jamaica, the UK Overseas Development Administration, the University of Florida and the International Palm Society, amongst others.

ICLY is now revived, with the benefits of electronic mail, as CICLY. In English this is the Centre for Information on Coconut Lethal Yellowing or Centro de InformaciĆ³n del Amarillamiento Letal de Coco in Spanish (to acknowledge the inescapable fact that most research will take place in Latin America). CICLY is intended to act as a discussion centre and clearing house for information about lethal yellowing and similar diseases of coconut and other palm species.

Fiji Dwarf Coconut is One Tough Nut The "Fiji Dwarf" coconut variety may be able to save the US coconut industry which is being destroyed by the lethal yellowing (LY) phytoplasma.