QUALITY COCONUT SEEDLING PRODUCTION: IMPORTANCE,METHODOLOGY AND CHALLENGESN.Chattopadhyay and A.B.Sharangi*(*[email protected])Department of Spices and Plantation Crops, Faculty of Horticulture, Bidhan ChandraKrishi Viswavidyalqya, Mohanpur-741252, Nadia, West BengalThe quality of planting material determines the ultimate returns from arable crops,particularly from tree crops like coconut. The seedling vigour is highly correlated withadult palm characters such as early flowering, nut yield and copra production (Liyanageand Abeywardena. 1957). In the absence of a viable technology for vegetative method ofpropagation, coconut is propagated through seeds. If the seed nuts happen to be of poorquality, the new plantation will prove to be uneconomic causing considerable loss of timeand money to the grower. Coconut, being a perennial crop, needs much attention in theselection of planting materials during establishments of an orchard or even for homesteadgarden. Further, being cross-fertilized, it does not breed true and makes the selection ofseed nuts and seedlings more difficult. Moreover, the increasing competition from othercountries like Indonesia, Philippines etc., compels us to go for quality planting materialsas a first step towards better establishment increased productivity and improved qualitynuts for a considerable period of time.Generally coconut growers have some misconceptions in choosing plantingmaterials for their garden. They select the inappropriate mother palm, follow a wrongposition of nut during planting, and judge the maturity of nut wrongly etc. knowingly orunknowingly. This reflected in terms of poor establishment, growth, yield and qualityresulting a significant economic loss personally as well as in the perspective of globalexport scenario. Keeping this in view it is felt worthwhile to contribute some positiveaspects on production methodology of quality planting materials in coconut.The first and foremost step is the selection of mother palm. The mother palmsshould be of 25-60 years of age with at least 30-32 rully opened healthy leaves on crown,shape of crown should be spherical or semi-spherical, petiole length and stalk of thebunches should be short and strong in nature, bearing habit should be regular with at least80 nuts annual yield during the last 5 years, having medium sized round to oblong nuts(1200 g weight with dried husk). One should avoid drooping crown, dis-shaped nut,proximity of cattle shed and compost pit near the palm.