Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Varietal diffusion of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.).

Abstract

Genetic improvement of the oil palm has been through several major stages. Mass selection was carried out before World War I. Around 1955, heterosis was found in crosses between selections carried out in Asia and in Africa. A reciprocal recurrent selection scheme was adopted in order to exploit this heterosis, and two selection cycles have been implemented since 1960. Varietal development programmes make it possible to integrate the genetic progress made in trials, and this progress is totally integrated into the seeds made available commercially. Genetic progress since 1960 has been estimated at a little over 40%. Over the same period, material resistant to Fusarium wilt (F. oxysporum f.sp. elaeidis) has been selected. In Africa, where that disease is endemic, such material offers greater security for investments made by oil palm growers. Given the dormancy in oil palm, which is difficult to break, seeds are supplied in germinated form. Their distribution requires special organization, especially for smallholders. The supply of improved planting material goes hand in hand with the development of oil palm plantations. It takes into account productivity requirements, hence grower income, and also attempts to secure investment by proposing appropriate material.