CULTIVATION OF PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA L. (DATE PALM) FOR COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND ENHANCED LIVELIHOOD: NACGRAB R AND D FOCUS
Nigeria is a country with diverse landscapes and climatic conditions that result in a corresponding high diversity of biological niches harbouring many plant species. The country is equally endowed with several ecological zones, having on its far south mangrove/swamp while the far north is defined by its almost desert-like climate. Most of the states in this axis are Jigawa, Bornu, Kebbi, Yobe, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara. The vegetation cover of these areas is mostly Sudan savannah and Sahel savannah and the desert encroachment in these front line states is so fast and growing at an alarming rate. The resultant effect of this has been mass displacement of inhabitants, farms and their animals thus inflicting hardship and poverty. Meanwhile, studies have shown that few tree crops do relatively well in these areas and one of them identified is Phoenix dactylifera (date palm). Date palm has high nutritive and commercial value and plays an important role in the ecology of various desert and semi-desert environments as well. Date palm, which is an irreplaceable tree in irrigable desert lands, provides protection to under-crops from the harshness of the climate (heat, wind and even cold weather), reduces damage caused by sand storms and wind erosion. It is therefore noted with keen research interest that despite the huge potentials of the date fruit the availability of planting materials has been the major challenge of the cultivation and production of this very important desert crop due to the heterozygous and dioecious nature of the plant. The National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) - the national focal point on genetic resources conservation and utilization - in one of her recent germplasm exploration and collection exercises in the affected front line states, is collecting several accessions of dates which could be subjected to in vitro propagation techniques using shoot tips and embryos in a modified Murashige and Skoog medium containing adenine, naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and activated charcoal. The generated plantlets could be subcultured into a liquid multiplication media using the Temporary Immersion Bioreactor systems (TIBs). The resultant products are expected to have a higher multiplication quotient than when the conventional solid multiplication media are used, thereby increasing the availability of planting materials for date palm estate establishment in Northern Nigeria.
Okere, A.U., Odofin, W.T., Aladele, S.E., Fajimi, O., Adetunji, O.A., Gidado, R.M. and Solomon, B.O. (2010). CULTIVATION OF PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA L. (DATE PALM) FOR COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND ENHANCED LIVELIHOOD: NACGRAB R AND D FOCUS. Acta Hortic. 882, 81-87
Phoenix dactylifera L, germplasm, in vitro, TIBs