When and why COGENT was created?

On 8-11 October 1991, the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources or IBPGR (renamed International Plant Genetic Resources Institute or IPGRI in 1992 then in 2006 it merged with INIBAP and became Bioversity International) organized an international workshop on coconut genetic resources in Cipanas, Indonesia. The workshop participants, made up of leading coconut researchers from 15 countries, recommended that an international coconut genetic resources network be established with Bioversity International.

In 1992, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) decided to include coconut in its research portfolio in 1992. The CGIAR recognized that international support to coconut research was needed. Thus, Bioversity International prioritised research on coconut genetic resources, included coconut genetic resources in its plant genetic resources research programme, and organized the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) to implement this mandate.

Coconut is a multi-purpose crop affected by low yield, pest, diseases, ageing palms and genetic erosion. Most of the coconuts producing countries do not have sufficient human and material resources to conduct expensive research to solve these problems. Research communities across the globe recognized the necessity to provide support for making coconut producing countries more productive and globally competitive. These issues provided the impetus for Bioversity International, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research  to collaboratively establish a network chaired by coconut producing countries.