Boost as hybrid coconut seedlings launched

Tuesday November 28 2017

A coconut farm in Meru.

A coconut farm in Meru. Hybrid coconut seeds have been developed for the crop's cultivation in the country. FILE | NMG 

Farmers at the Coast will soon start growing hybrid coconut plants, which yield more than the local ones and mature faster.

The hybrid coconut seeds imported from India have been introduced in the country by Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT), with funding from Danida.

“This is a notable milestone after years of growing only two varieties of coconuts; the East African Tall which has been in production since the introduction of coconut growing in the country with no improvement at all in terms of research and the Dwarf variety mainly planted for ornamental purpose and for its tender coconut water,” Priscillah Gathiga, the CEO of MESPT, said yesterday.

Gathiga said a total of 6,000 nut seeds have been shipped in the country and would be planted on 120 acres at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO)-Matuga for performance observation.

“After six months of successful observation, the seedlings will be distributed to smallholder farmers who are expected to reap the benefits in two years. This is such a reprieve unlike where they had to wait for 5-7 years to reap from local coconut varieties,” she said, adding MESPT is also working with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service in the project, Nuts and Oils Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and the County governments.

Water, oil, fibre, and wine are among products extracted from coconut.