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Safeguarding the Ghanaian coconut crop

A joint project between The University of Nottingham (UK) and the Oil Palm Research Institute (Ghana) developed new technology to detect ‘lethal yellowing’ diseases, which can destroy up to 100% of coconut trees on some farms in Ghana.

Data breakout

30 Minutes. Time to detect ‘lethal yellowing’ diseases using the new devices
4.2% Proportion of Ghana’s population supported by coconut farming
100% Proportion of coconut trees destroyed by the disease on some farms
£356k BBSRC-DFID funding for the research, through the SARID programme

The researchers worked with instrumentation company Optigene and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) to create portable devices that can detect the presence of the disease in 30 minutes. The devices run from a portable battery, enabling disease detection in remote locations, which has been particularly important for Ghanaian farming communities. The Director of CSIR Oil Palm Research Institute in Ghana described this as a revolution in diagnosis of the diseases.

The research, which also helped identify coconut varieties resistant to the disease, is informing the Ghanaian Ministry of Agriculture strategy to replant in diseased areas and protect coconut farming in Ghana.

Read the full impact evidence report:

Safeguarding the Ghanaian coconut crop (PDF 705KB)

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