Fresh air in our oil palm cloning program

Many years have passed since our oil palm cloning program began in the early eighties. The facilities in which this program started were not the best for ensuring rapid progress, but these difficulties were gradually overcome and eventually facilities were built that are now the pride of our company. In charge of this program and its rapid progress has been Nidia Guzmán, who can now breathe easily with the conviction that the future looks bright for her compact palm clones.

Most of the drawbacks of the past related to vegetative abnormalities in the field have been left behind, but this only came after a sustained research effort that helped relate the morphological traits of the plantlets in the laboratory with their behavior in the field. From these investigations it was recognized that different plants (ortets) had different requirements during the cloning and acclimation phase, which if not respected, could generate undesirable abnormalities in the field. Nidia has worked hard to define the requirements of the medium (particularly its chemical composition) to ensure nutrition that allows obtaining the best cloned plants on the market. The research effort and its results have created confidence in the producers interested in the clones, who have seen this product as the next frontier of oil palm cultivation.

10 3 primer fotoGeneral view of the facilities of ASD’s oil palm tissue laboratory in Coto, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

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Nidia Guzmán proudly shows a flask with a group of cloned plants ready to be taken to a prenursery for acclimatization. The quality of these plants is exceptional, due to the vigor of their aerial part as well as their root systems.