The importance of coconut seedling production in guyana

La importancia de la producción de plántulas de coco en guyana


  • Jhaman Kundun
  • Mitchroy Thom
  • Cyril Roberts



coconut seedlings, seed nuts, coconut nursery, coconut farmers


The demand for coconut water and coconut oil is increasing thus there is interest in expanding coconut cultivation. Coconut is primarily planted on approximately 28,500 acres by more than 1,400 farmers along the Guyana coastline with the Atlantic Ocean and in the Pomeroon Riverain area. Tall types (e.g. Jamaica Tall) are planted for oil while Dwarf types (e.g. Malaysian Dwarf Green, Suriname Brown) are planted primarily for water. At least 50% of the Tall type population is more than 50 years old and needs to be replanted to increase productivity. Farmers traditionally collect seedlings growing from dropped nuts at the base of trees without attention to prolificacy. Since a coconut tree productive life is more than 50 years, the economic impact of this practice can be significant. Via training programs, CARDI is encouraging the structured production of coconut seedlings to increase yields. This project aims to enhance the supply of quality seedlings using local seed nuts. Mother palms that display prolific bearing habits, resistance to pest and diseases plus vigorous growth habit were geotagged and recorded in a database. Seed nuts were purchased from farmers who own these trees and subsequently distributed (in batches of 400) to ten selected (age, gender, location) lead farmers to establish coconut seedling nurseries. Each lead farmer was assisted by 10 second ring farmers in the establishment of their nurseries under CARDI supervision. Results to date show that weed control and irrigation were important nursery activities. Some nurseries needed to be fenced to counter damage by animals (cows, sheep, goats). Average germination of seed nuts was approximately 50%. Available seedlings are being distributed to second ring farmers and lead farmers. CARDI will continue the national survey to identify outstanding mother palms. Measures to increase average germination must also be implemented. Local coconut seedling nurseries should therefore be encouraged as their “success” will alleviate the pressure to import seed nuts thus avoiding the attendant risk of introducing exotic diseases (e.g. lethal yellowing disease) into Guyana. Further, given that a coconut palm will live 50 to 70 years, the importance of carefully selecting premium quality coconut seedlings as a bedrock to develop and grow the industry cannot be over emphasized.