Domestication and commercialisation of Canarium indicum in Papua New Guinea
ACIAR Research Program Manager
This project aims to seek out, characterise, select and multiply individual Canarium trees in PNG that have superior commercial traits for cultivar development and field tests. It also aims to improve market prospects for these products in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, deliver selected cultivars and training to the participating communities, and disseminate information to stimulate adoption.
Project Background and Objectives
A feasibility study of domesticating and commercialising the canarium nut in Papua New Guinea affirmed the positive attributes of Canarium indicum - a high value, nutritious, premium product, with good processing attributes. An industry could be built on traditional use, existing markets and recognised livelihood benefits. Nuts are easy to store, and processing is simple. The large tree-to-tree variability in key kernel traits emphasises the potential for cultivar selection. The soft nut texture is popular and allows a broad range of uses in confectionery/baking, and the nuts have health attributes, making them a part of healthy living in Melanesia.
The survey underscored the benefits of developing an industry in Melanesia. All rural people surveyed use Canarium as a food, with 80% wanting more. With 2 million people consuming 2 kg per year of kernels domestic consumption could be 4000 tonnes valued at $A100 million.
The researchers recognised opportunities for year-round production in Melanesia, with growing urban markets (local and expatriate) in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. There was great enthusiasm among producers, traders and tourist outlets around the region, with opportunities for regional and international niche market expansion. Several other indigenous nuts were found to have similar opportunities.
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)
Milestone 1.1: Vegetative Propagation (Achieve 50% rooting in stem cuttings by month 6 and 80% rooting by month 12).
Canarium indicum (Galip Nut) has a reputation of being very difficult to root from stem cuttings, and little is known about how to propagate this species vegetatively. However, good progress has been made towards this Milestone (see attached Report from Vegetative Propagation consultant). In the first set of experiments, set in September 2006 the overall level of rooting was 40%, but the breakdown of this result by different treatments and by cutting position shows that the cuttings with the optimum combination of treatments exceeded 40%. This was achieved with cuttings from seedlings in which maintenance could be easily improved, thus future experiments should achieve greater levels of success.
The limited availability of suitable juvenile cutting material led to a second set of experiments undertaken in February 2007, using cuttings from mature trees. As would be expected this material did not root well. However, now at the end of the first year, the project has a number of different sets of juvenile stockplant material both in the nursery and in stockplant gardens. A series of replicated shade and nutrient treatments were applied to these stock plants in May 2007 and Richard Pauku will return in August-September to set the cuttings. It is expected that this third set of cutting experiments using the best combinations of rooting hormone (0.8%IBA), media (soil), leaf area (80cm2) and cutting length (3-node) will result in high (<80%) rooting success. This experiment should also clearly demonstrate the benefits of high quality stockplant management and the impacts of stockplant environment on rooting.
New nursery facilities have been developed in the station, which will improve the capacity of NARI nursery staff to maintain a high quality propagation environment. This new facility combined with the availability of high quality stock plants will help to improve the environmental conditions of the propagating environment and the and physiological condition of the cutting, which is likely to result in a higher percentage of rooted cuttings.
The use of marcotting (air-layering) techniques on mature trees has been successfully used to propagate superior phenotypes for the establishment of mature stockplants for future studies. Currently marcotting success is around 50%. The development of this capacity in NARI will assist in securing the selected individuals identified through the characterisation study.
Milestones 1.2, &1.3: Prospect Village Populations, Characterize Phenotypic Variation in Nuts and Kernels. Milestones 1.4 And 1.5: To Select Superior Trees and Propagate by Marcotting
Despite the problems outlined in section 4.7 'Current or potential research or logistical problems' 12 populations from five provenances have been visited and 600 suitable trees have been identified during a survey to collect dried leaf samples for molecular analysis. Village communities were informed of the study and a good rapport has been fostered with those participating landowners. A further 100 Canarium trees have been identified and marked at two villages in East New Britain (Nanuk near Kokopo, and Kabaira near Keravat). A third site (Welmeki, near the border with West New Britain) to be visited soon was selected because the community has been reported to have good success using Galip as the shade in cocoa plantations, which may contribute to our understanding of Canarium productivity in mixed plantings.
The lack of fruiting over the last two seasons (main and minor seasons) has resulted in the delaying of the te prospecting and characterization. It was considered that to be more astute to delay the collection to a time when there was prolific fruiting to ensure assessment of a wide range of individuals and enable the preliminary identification of high yielding trees. The prolific flowering of Galip trees across a range of different sites in May 2007 indicates that the next season is likely to have sufficient nuts to carry out the characterisation field work. The collecting teams are currently contacting the relevant landowners in the five Provinces (Madang, New Ireland, Bougainville, East and West New Britain) and preparing for the field work expected to be carried out in August-September 2007.
Milestones 2.1 & 2.2: Facilitate National Workshop to promote exchange of cultivation and marketing information linked with Solomon Islands and to develop a Melanesian Supply Chain.
Communications with industry stakeholders throughout Melanesia has continued and while volume and consistency of supply continues to restrict industry growth, various strategies are being implemented to improve local supply. Such activities include promotion and use of small food dehydrators in the villages, improved packaging to extend shelf life, development of food processing training within the new Santo Agricultural College
To maximise the effectiveness and impact of this workshop negotiations with Sunshine Coast University have been ongoing to link with their proposed ACIAR-funded project workshop focussing on Galip processing. While industry stakeholders have indicated their support for this, it does mean that the proposed workshop will be delayed until the commencement of the Sunshine Coast project (expected in January 2008). Given that the results from the field survey will be available by this time it is envisaged that this will also form a valuable component of the workshop.
Milestone 4.1: Dissemination of Information to Stimulate Adoption
Article published in National newspaper on "The potential of Galip in PNG".
NARI Extension leaflet "Toktok on Galip"
NARI Extension bulletins on outputs from ACIAR Feasibility Project
Farmer survey results
Consumer survey results
Galip literature review
NARI Field Day - April 23rd 2007 was focussed on Galip promotion. There were radio and TV presentations from the Open Day.
Regional Research Advisory Council Meeting - 25th April 2007 involved stakeholder groups from different regions of PNG.
The project vehicle has been purchased and is in regular use.
During the 2007-2008 period, the work of the Canarium indicum (Galip nut) Domestication and Commercialization Project has centred on exploration and characterization of genetic resources of the species. Project staff have visited often remote areas of five Provinces of PNG (Bougainville, East New Britain, mainland and island areas of Madang, New Ireland and West New Britain). Within the five provinces, 13 villages were selected for prospection, tree selection / collection. Additionally, meetings on project objectives and activities were held with local authorities and landowners. After these consultations, almost 10,000 individual fruits (nuts) were collected from more than 400 trees and transported to the NARI Lowlands Agricultural Experiment Station in Keravat. Project staff carried out detailed measurements of fruit characteristics of these samples, based on which they identified trees in each population with superior commercial characteristics, particularly for traits related to kernel size. One or more return visits to each site was then made in order to finalize tree selections with local landowners (this involved both screening of preliminary selections and also to supplementation with selections made by the farmers themselves). Subsequently, trees in each population were pruned in order to stimulate production of branches suitable for marcotting (air-layering), i.e. to permit their propagation. This prospection and collection work is an important first step in planned domestication. It was initially scheduled for the first year of the project, but could not be carried out as planned, due to key staff members being temporarily assigned to deal with the cocoa pod borer emergency.
Concurrently, work on developing vegetative propagation methods for Galip-nut has continued. Four additional experiments looking at factors affecting rooting were established. These look at various factors (e.g. stockplant shade, rooting media), including the combination of the best treatments to date with high-quality cuttings (i.e. from healthy, vigourous seedlings). These experiments are expected to yield rooting percentages higher than the 40% obtained to date. Work has also continued on marcotting of adult trees; 8 of 14 trees included in the marcotting experiment have produced at least one rooted marcot.
Project staff have begun the compilation of a database of parties interested in the development of the Galip-nut supply chain. A newsletter has been produced in order to facilitate this process by raising awareness of the Project.
The Canarium indicum (Galip nut) Domestication and Commercialization Project has made substantial progress in two work areas (vegetative propagation and genetic resource exploration / characterization) during the 2008-2009 reporting period.
As anticipated in the previous report, a breakthrough was achieved in vegetative propagation of juvenile material, with success rates now above 90% for the best treatment combinations. Until this year, success rates >40% had not been achieved. Success is attributed largely to use of higher quality stockplants. Research on stockplant management is continuing.
Project staff have also worked intensively in marcotting (air-layering) of superior adult galip-trees trees as a way of capturing their genotypes for future multiplication. Although galip is difficult to marcot, success rates have been sufficiently high (around 17% per marcotted tree) to permit capture of the genotypes of superior adult trees in the form of rooted, detached marcots.
Staff has continued with exploration and characterization of genetic resources of galip-nut, with further visits to collection sites in often remote areas of five Provinces of PNG (Bougainville, East New Britain, mainland and island areas of Madang, New Ireland and West New Britain). Within the five provinces, prospection, tree selection / collection have now been carried out in 14 villages. Additionally, meetings on project objectives and activities were held with local authorities and landowners. Over the project life, almost 10,000 individual fruits (nuts) have been collected from more than 400 trees and transported to the NARI Lowlands Agricultural Experiment Station in Keravat. Detailed measurements have been carried out on these individual nuts. Preliminary analyses suggest that more variation in commercial traits occurs between individual trees within collection sites than between sites-within-provinces or between provinces.
Project work is now concentrating on intensive selection and marcotting of adult trees in East New Britain and Madang. This shift of emphasis to two provinces results both from the logistic difficulties of working in remote areas and from the finding that phenotypic variation (and, by implication, genetic variation) in commercial traits is concentrated at the within-population level. In East New Britain, the number of adult trees is also being expanded. Marcotted trees are being established in clone banks at Keravat, ENB and in Madang. These marcots will be used as stockplants for future propagation trials and, eventually, as the source of rooted cuttings for genetic tests and to supply collaborating villagers with germplasm.