SAMOA RESEARCHERS GROW 3-HEADED COCONUT TREE

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Asking $1 million for hybrid

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 27, 2008) - The owners of a three-headed coconut tree are asking WST2.5 million [US$1 million] for it.

The tree is a hybrid, which researchers in Ivory Coast believe could substantially boost, yields.

Reuters reports the researchers are asking for US$1 million, which comes to WST2,487,600.

Scientists at Ivory Coast’s National Agronomic Research Centre (NARC) discovered the tree after mixing different strains of coconut palm in an effort to build disease resistance, the news agency says.

"In selling this hybrid, our objective is to have the means to multiply on a large scale to popularize it and increase the productivity of planters, as all three heads produce coconuts," said Jean Louis Konana, head of NARC’s coconut research program.

Samoa is on a drive to revitalize coconut planting to meet anticipated demand.

Operators of new coconut processing plants are working with Ministry of Agriculture on the project.

They are trying to interest farmers to join a planting program.

One estimate puts anticipated demand at one million nuts daily.

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