Dr. Jelfina C.Alouw, Executive Director, and Ms. Mridula Kottekate, Assistant Director, visited Morotai Island Regency from 19th to 24th March 2021.
Team of Balit Palma, Manado, North Sulawesi under the leadership Prof. Meldy L. A.Hosang, Ms., Sukmawati Mawardi, a coconut breeder, and Ms. Juniaty Kalesaran Sundalangi, an Entomologist, also joined the ICC team at Morotai Island Regency. The main objective of the survey is to assess the current situation relating to coconut palms showing symptom similar to Phytoplasma infection and to collect the sample from coconut garden at Morotai as informed by scientist from Balit Palma. This visit is as part of the activities under the International Thematic Action Group (ITAG) 3 of COGENT “Phytopathology, Entomology and Germplasm Movement”. The sample collected would be identified in the molecular laboratory at Bogor, Indonesia, to know the actual cause of infestation so that early intervention can be recommended accordingly to the government.
During the visit to Morotai, the team visited the Bido village around 30 km away from the Pandanga, Morotai, where the variety of Bido planted. Met with the Village Head, Mr. Yosua Banggai, Dr. Jelfina explained the objective of visiting the village and briefed the activities of ICC. During interaction, Mr. Yosua Banggai informed that the village is planning to prepare a coconut nursery of Bido variety in an area of 10 ha to meet the local demand for planting materials. The variety is cultivated in an area of 200 ha covering 67 families. The palms are of age from 40 years old and almost all the palms are giving good yield.
The team had a meeting with Mr. Asrun Pandoma, Vice Regent of Morotai Island Regency, along with the local officers, Mr. Anwar Husen, Head of Agriculture and Food Security Department; Mr. Marwan S., Capacity Building and Industry Department; Mr. Taufik, Quarantine Officer.
Dr. Jelfina explained the objective of the visit of the team and made a presentation on ICC activities and briefed the Vice Regent on the different value-added products made out of coconut. She brought to the notice of the Vice Regent that the scientists from Balit Palma have observed some disease infestation in the coconut plantation of the Morotai Regency. There was in-depth discussion on different issues in which the team of Balit Palma also participated. Dr. Meldy informed the Vice Regent that Balit Palma is carrying out different research activities in the Morotai Island Regency from the last few years. Mr. Anwar Husen, the Head of the Agriculture Service, Morotai Island Regency explained the activities of his department in the regency and mentioned that here the farmers are only making copra traditionally from the coconut. It would be appreciated if some capacity building programs could be arranged in association with Balit Palma for the local farmers. He mentioned one coconut variety DUKU in the regency, the size of which looks like papaya fruit.
Dr. Jelfina as an Executive Director of ICC presented the ICC's Publications to Vice Regent and to Head of Agriculture Department. Token of appreciation was exchanged between Vice Regent and Executive Director.
The ICC team collected the sample from the coconut garden infested with the symptom similar to phytoplasma or related disease. The sample was collected in the presence of Mr. Taufik, the Local Quarantine Officer, and Ms. Salma Lahia, Pandanga Guide and Local Representative. The visit was very informative and productive.