Securing the Distribution Channels for Improved Oil Palm Seeds to Smallholder Farmers in Cameroon: I. Using Mendellian Inheritance Principles to Determine the Source of Planting Material in Smallholder Plantations
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Oil palm production greatly depends on the agro ecology of the area, cropping techniques and the quality of planting material. A study was conducted to determine the different varieties of oil palm planted in smallholders' plantations, the distribution channels for oil palm seeds and all the actors involved in the seed sector in Cameroon. This in a bid to secure the supply of only improved planting materials to farmers. 230 oil palm smallholder plantations were surveyed and individual palms were subjected to varietal determination. The Chi-Square Test (X2) for Fixed Ratio Hypothesis (α= 0.05) was used to determine whether the observed ratio deviates significantly from the Mendellian hypothesized genetic segregation ratio. Up to 65% of the farms were found to be planted with poor planting material distributed in the different Mendellian ratios; 100% Dura, 50% Tenera and 50% Dura (1: 1), 25% Dura ,50% Tenera and 25% Pisifera (1:2:1). The source of this poor quality planting material for these farms was deduced to come from private nursery entrepreneurs and workers of industrial plantations such as CDC and SOCAPALM, CIG's and NGO's. Farmers supplied by government services especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and some of its specialized development projects all received good quality material. Thus this is the only means now available which can assure the distribution of seeds produced in research centers since all of these centers (P AMOL and CEREPAH Dibamba) are enclaved.