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First International Tissue Culture Workshop

International Coconut Community under the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) organized the first International Tissue Culture Workshop with the theme “Collaborative Initiatives towards Enhancing Tissue Culture R & D” physically from 16-20 May 2022 in India hosted by the ICAR-Central Plantation Crop Research Institute (CPCRI). This is one of the activities of COGENT’s International Thematic Action Group (ITAG 4), who serve as the technical team working on In-vitro Culture and Cryopreservation.

The objective of organizing the workshop is to share expertise and develop skills of researchers working on coconut tissue culture in support of the conservation, germplasm exchange and mass propagation program among member countries of COGENT.

The Tissue culture experts from the different TC laboratory had participated in the workshop, presented their TC research and development, and provided the hand-to-hand skill demonstration to the participants from different eight coconut growing countries and the countries hosting the ICGs from Cote d’ Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Representatives from each country also presented the progresses and challenges of coconut tissue culture they faced.

The workshop started on 16th May with formal inaugural session in which Dr. Anand Kumar Singh, Deputy Director General, ICAR, India was the chief guest and delivered the inaugural address. In his address he appreciated the activities of ICC and the development happened in the coconut tissue culture and requested all to take maximum benefits of the workshop to implement and adopt in their respective countries. Dr. Rajesh M.K welcomed the delegates and participants. Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director of ICC, presented the overview of COGENT program, followed by address of Mrs. Erlene C. Manohar, COGENT Coordinator about Coconut Conservation Strategy. Dr. Anitha Karun, Director, ICAR-CPCRI delivered the keynote address. The inaugural session concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr. Niral Vittal.

The four-day workshop divided into the following five sessions followed by hand-to-hand demonstrations to the participants. Subject matter experts Dr. Bart Panis, Bioversity International Belgium, Dr. Quang Nguyen, Vietnam International University, Dr. Sundar Kalaipandian, University of Queensland, Dr. Cristy A. Cueto, Philippines Coconut Authority, Dr. Vijitha Vidhanaarachchi, CRI Sri Lanka, Dr. Anitha Karun, Dr. M. K Rajesh and Dr. Shareefa from CPCRI presented and shared the technology development information’s with practical demonstrations. 

1. Demonstration of Embryo Culture and Exchange Protocols
2. Demonstration of Ex Vitro Plantlet Establishment
3. Demonstration Clonal Propagation Protocols
4. Demonstration of Coconut Cryopreservation Protocols
5. Networking and International Project Develop

After each session there were Q&A sessions and discussion with hand-to-hand practical demonstrations on different aspects. The participants were taken to the different sections of the CPCRI for internal campus visit including the laboratory visits to make them understand the activities of CPCRI. Last day of the workshop i.e on 19th May the participants were divided into five groups for the group activities under the guidance of each resource speaker. The groups were asked to present their research proposals, and participants and resource persons provided input for the alignment of proposals. Mrs. Erlene C. Manohar COGENT Coordinator presented the synthesis of the workshop and action plan.

Certificate of appreciation and participation were distributed to all the resource speakers and participants. The four-day workshop concluded with the closing remarks of Dr. Jelfina C. Alouw, Executive Director. In her remarks she thanked the organizers and sponsors ACIAR, CPCRI and Coconut Development Board of India. She appreciated the resource speakers and the participants for their active participation in the workshop and requested all to adopt the technology and information’s what they learned in these four days and try to replicate in their respective countries. She added that this is the first physical program organized by ICC after the pandemic and was very successful due to the active participation of all. Dr. Jelfina thanked and appreciated Dr. Anitha Karun, Director CPCRI and her team for the excellent arrangements for the successful conduct of the program. The symposium was moderated by Mr. Vincent Johnson, COGENT Coordination Support.

On 20th May 2022 a field visit was organized to the team to Mr. A. Narayanan Nair, one of the progressive farmers wherein the multistoried coconut cultivation model was displayed. After that the team were taken to Vittal Agro Products, one of the biggest Desiccated Coconut Powder manufacturers of India. He is processing around 1.5 akh coconuts per day. The team had good interaction with the manufacturer as well as the machine manufacturer. The visit found to be very informative and productive.

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