Galip is an emerging cash crop that is gaining interest around the country. A recent highlight of this work was the launch of the new galip brands last year. MATTHEW POIENOU, from Nari, explains
GALIP is an emerging cash crop that is gaining interest around the country.
This has happened through the work of the National Agricultural Research Institute (Nari) and its partners such as the European Union and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, over the past 20 years.
A recent highlight of this work was the launch of the new galip brands last year.
This created a growing demand in the local and regional markets for these commercial galip products.
However, inconsistent supply of nuts for production at our factory in East New Britain is a major limitation.
The growing of selected “elite” galip trees among smallholder farmers since 2008 has not adequately catered for this.
Therefore, our long-term vision is to develop a suitable clonal seed system to sustain the supply of quality nuts.
Nari has taken several years to acquire and maintain elite galip materials or seedlings at its Islands Regional Centre at Kerevat, East New Britain.
Elite galip materials are selected from existing wild and domesticated seedling types that possess a range of superior qualities. Targeted qualities include trees that can bear early, high yields of nuts that have:
- High kernel to nut ratio;
- high oil content; and,
- Are easy to crack and process.
These qualities have made it easy for us to monitor and address quality issues for any seedling sourced from Nari.
For example, if a matured, early bearing galip crop was found to have low kernel to nut ratio; its batch number can be retraced and replaced with one with a higher ratio.
In the short term, we have been using this approach to encourage galip farming among rural communities by supplying elite materials that possess the desired features to smallholder galip farmers.
They are using these to farm early bearing trees that produce high yields of quality nuts to meet their income and food security needs.
However, we have identified certain limitations with yields from elite galip trees.
Firstly, seasonal variations among different types of elite galip trees create unsteady levels of output.
Due to that, there, are therefor, increased differences in the quality of production to effectively meet market standards and demands.
In fact, studies have established that trees grown from elite materials can vary greatly in both tree and nut characteristics.
Our long term plan to address this is to develop a superior galip seed system and phase out the use of elite materials.
The focus here is to use the cloning technology.
Galip cloning is the process of making a new plant using other parts of a galip crop instead of its seeds seedlings.
For example, when you cut a branch and grow it into a new plant, you have created a clone of the original galip plant.
The new plant will give “true” features of the galip trees from which it was cloned.
This will enable us develop suitable galip varieties and prove that it is possible to mass produce galip clone crops for commercial purposes.
The advantages of galip cloning are multitude.
It allows a farmer to have access to both early and late maturing galip crops so that seasonality is spread over the year enhancing continuous supply of nuts for the galip factory.
This means that the farmer will be able to have access to a sustainable means of income.
In a similar manner, farmers will be able to supply galip nuts that have high oil content only or have larger size kernels for product development or smaller size kernels for oil production Moreover, cloning enables the farmer to excess galip planting materials that can produce high nut yields that are easy to crack.
In this way, farmers will be able to supply more nuts required for factory processing.
Nari has to build its capacity to explore and develop the potential of the clone technology.
This will need ample support from the government and interested stakeholders.
Further research is needed to establish suitable propagation and multiplication techniques to mass produce clonal galip crops that can maintain the desired qualities provided by elite seedlings.
Local experts have to be trained to sustain the clonal galip production programme, going forward.
We are keen to continue collaborating with our partners to develop appropriate technologies to boost our infant galip industry and ultimately contribute towards attaining goals set in our country’s major development policies, like Vision 2050.
- Matthew Poienou is the research information officer based at Nari’s Islands Regional Centre at Kerevat, East New Britain.