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Oil palm genetic improvement and sustainable development

Cochard B., Amblard P., Durand-Gasselin T.. 2005. OCL. Oléagineux Corps gras Lipides, 12 (2) : p. 141-147.

Genetic improvement of the oil palm may have a role to play in the sustainability of this crop. Given the criticism aimed at this commodity chain, notably due to the extension of oil palm plantations to the detriment of forests, providing very high-yielding planting material might be a solution, particularly as world demand is continually increasing. This crop is mostly managed by agroindustrialists, but the smallholder sector is developing. It happens that this sector is classed as a sustainable type of agriculture by numerous NGOs, which are also asking plant breeders to take the specificities of smallholdings into consideration. Oil palm genetic improvement takes numerous criteria into account, many of which fit in with sustainable agriculture. For example, this crop is subject to pressure from different pests and diseases. In each case, a genetic hence eco-friendly approach has been taken and, in particular, vascular wilt-tolerant planting material has been a successfully produced. Moreover, for the future of this crop, planting material needs to be developed that requires fewer inputs, and consideration has to be given to extending this crop in less favourable zones, by developing planting material that consumes less water. Lastly, it is important to disseminate genetically diversified planting material.

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; amélioration des plantes; rendement; ressource génétique; résistance aux maladies; durabilité; diffusion; politique de développement

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