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A research program for the sustainable production of clove tree products in Madagascar

Razakaratrimo J., Jahiel M., Jeannoda V., Normand F.. 2017. Antananarivo : ISHS, 1 p.. International Symposium on Survey of Uses of Plant Genetic Resources to the Benefit of Local Populations, 2017-09-18/2017-09-22, Antananarivo (Madagascar).

The clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum) is an evergreen tree from the Myrtaceae family introduced in Madagascar in the nineteenth century. It is cultivated for two products of high economic value: cloves and essential oil. Madagascar rates second in terms of worldwide clove production with an annual production varying between 10000 and 15000 tons. It is the first exporting country for cloves. This cash crop provides incomes to 60000 small growers in the Malagasy East coast. Nevertheless, clove tree is prone to irregular flowering, and therefore irregular clove production. This affects the growers incomes, as well as the whole industry. Very little is known about this issue as clove tree is not a well-documented species. Some authors mentioned that rainfall at specific periods of the year may impact negatively flowering. Preliminary field observations suggested that flowering is affected by factors at environmental and at tree scales. Based on this knowledge, an on-farm research program, presented in this paper, has been developed to investigate flowering of the clove tree and the factors affecting it. The first point was to characterize and quantify irregular flowering at the tree and at the orchard scales. The second point was to characterize soil and climate in the orchards as well as tree attributes in order to evaluate if they affect the flowering pattern of the trees. The third point was to analyze the relationships between vegetative growth and flowering at the tree scale. The fourth point was to analyze the effects of pruning, a common practice used to harvest branches and leaves for distillation, on vegetative growth and flowering. A survey of the growers knowledge on factors affecting flowering has also been undertaken. This information would be useful to build hypotheses to be tested in the program, and to compare our results to this empirical knowledge.

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