Conservation of cacao in field genebanks (CATIE)
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An important activity at CATIE, related to the center's role in conservation and management for development of natural resources, is the conservation and utilization of genetic resources of cacao. These activities have been supported by the American Cocoa Research Institute (ACRI), and recently by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Office for Central America (ROCAP) through the PROCACAO regional network. These activities are also supported by the CATIE Plant Genetic Resources Area, whose strategy is based on the conservation and appropriate use of genetic resources, with the following detailed objectives: to promote the unrestricted use of germplasm as a legacy for mankind to increase the collections to select superior genotypes in support of national plant genetic improvement prograMON, and to improve characterization and conservation methods for germplasm at CATIE. The cacao germplasm collection at CATIE comprises almost 749 accessions, mostly consisting of elite selections from the main cocoa research stations of Latin America and including the main cultivated varieties of Tropical America. From our cacao collections, CATIE personnel have produced planting material (clones and hybrids) with high yields, good size of beans and fruits, and resistance to Phytophtora palmivora (blck pod disease), Moniliophthora roreri (Moniliasis) and Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis wilt). Detailed information is given on plant management, and soil and climatic data at CATIE, Turrialba to allow comparison with information from other localities.