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Population breeding approaches applied in cocoa selection in Côte d'Ivoire

N'Goran J.A.K., Lachenaud P., Kébé B.I., N'Guessan F.K., Tahi G.M., Pokou N.D., Sounigo O., N'Goran K., Eskes A.. 2006. In : Eskes Albertus (ed.), Efron Yoel (ed.). Global approaches to cocoa germplasm utilization and conservation : Final report of the CDC/CCO/IPGRI project on "Cocoa germplasm utilization and conservation: A global approach" (1998-2004). Amsterdam : CFC, p. 35-40. (CFC Technical paper, 50).

Cocoa breeding in Côte d'Ivoire started in the early 1960s as soon as Upper Amazon populations were introduced into Côte d'Ivoire from Ghana. The first crosses with Amelonado and Trinitario genotypes generated a number of selected hybrids that have been distributed to farmers from 1975 onward. In 1990, the need to change the breeding scheme arose in order to better account for resistance traits and to allow for continuous progress in the breeding programme. A reciprocal recurrent selection programme was seen as the best way to accumulate yield resistance traits into progenies. Clones were chosen to be used as parents to create two complementary base populations using information available on the combining ability of the genotypes. Three hundred and ten intra-populations crosses were made and planted in the field from 1991 to 1993. After selecting the best families, individual tree data on yield, yield efficiency and percentage of Phytophthora pod rot allowed trees to be selected that were used to create populations of the second cycle of recurrent selection. This second cycle started in 2000. Candidate hybrids from the first cycle, including intra-group and inter-group crosses, are being tested in comparative hybrid trials aiming at possible commercial release.

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