By R. Bourdeix, V. Saena Tuia and Alofa Leuluaialii

This website returns the information collected during two scientific visits conducted in 2001 and 2010, on behalf the Ministry of Agriculture of Samoa, the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network, the Secretatiat of the South Pacific Community, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Bioversity International and the French Centre for Agricultural Research and Development. The objective of the second visit was to secure the conservation of the famous Niu Afa cultivar, the longest coconut in the world.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Old Olomanu coconut Seed Garden and Genebank

The Olomanu Seed garden, located in the West part of Upolu island, is the place where coconut germplasm was conserved and where hybrid seednuts were produced. In the years 2010, it was turned to a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre, under the Samoan Ministry of Police and Prisons and with no more link to the Ministry of Agriculture. Most of the accessions of the coconut gene bank have been cut off few years ago.

The following picture was taken during the harvest of Niu Afa palms at Olomanu.

According to the following map (click to enlarge), the varieties that were in the genebank are Rennell Tall (183 palms - P1), Samatau Tall (3 palms – P2), Niu Vai Tall (178 palms – P3), Niu Afa Tall (210 palms – P4), Niu Lea Tall (55 palms – P5), Niu Kogau and Niu Lea (7 palms-P6i), Samoa Local Tall (144 palms – P6ii), Natural Hybrids (82 palms- P6iii), Samoan Local (112 palms – P7), Niu Ati red dwarf (5 palms – P8) and Genetic Trial mixed with different varieties (282 palms – P9).

It appeared that the total number of living palms for Niu Afa was lower than 210 palms. A counting duirng the month of March 2010 gave 178 living palms. We selected visually 52 palms (29%) from the Niu Afa variety, preferring the palms producing large and long fruits. Finally seednuts were harvested only on 46 palms due to lack of fruits at the good stage for 6 palms.