With research on coconut, arecanut and cocoa as its mandate, ICAR-CPCRI has the focal point on development, dissemination and evaluation of technologies for these plantation crops which support the livelihood of close to 20 million Indians. Palms and cocoa have several unique challenges because of their habit as well as recalcitrance to biological interventions. Despite these bottlenecks, ICAR-CPCRI is delivering many expert solutions to improve the production, protection and value addition aspects in these crops.
In tandem with the aim of the Government to enhance the income/benefits of farmers and sustain the environment, ICAR-CPCRI has chalked out future research programmes in the 2020-25 and 2020-30 roadmap documents that align with the key national agricultural priorities listed below:
To tap the vast genetic diversity of plantation crops, the germplasm (445 for coconut, 178 arecanut and 515 cocoa) available at ICAR-CPCRI is being subjected to conventional breeding and tissue culture approaches coupled with cutting edge 'omics' sciences to produce varieties/hybrids for targeted traits, particularly for disease resistance. While the Institute has pioneered the efficient use of natural resources through palm-based crop management involving multi-species cropping/farming systems with animal components, it is now moving ahead to harness the artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial vehicle technologies to further improve the production/productivity of these crops in the current scenario of climate variability. Recycling technologies for palm and cocoa biomass residues that return critical carbon, back to the soil and sustain the environment, are getting fine-tuned for wider adoption and for organic farming.
Several next-generation value-added technologies/products that can enhance farmer's income and overcome poverty are in the pipeline. Concerted efforts to disseminate, transfer, evaluate and fine-tune the technologies in close interactions with farmers and other stakeholders are being continually upgraded. The Institute’s collaboration with many thinktanks organizations to develop policy briefs to raise the visibility of palms and cocoa in national agriculture scenario are under progress. Thus, ICAR-CPCRI has streamlined its institute research programmes with national agricultural priorities and aims is to serve the stakeholders in a better manner in the coming years.