CoGent Network

Sri Lanka

Country information


Coconut Research Institute (CRISL)
Bandirippuwa Estat
Lunuwila, 61150
Sri Lanka
Phone: (+94-31) 2255300/ 2255890
Fax: (+94-31) 2257391

Coconut Research Institute website


Dr C. Jayasekara
Coconut Research Institute (CRISL)
Bandirippuwa Estate
Lunuwila, 61150
Sri Lanka
Phone: (+94-31) 2255300/ 2255890
Fax: (+94-31) 2257391

King Coconut (RTB)
(Image: J. Oliver)

Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located about 31 km off the southern coast of India. It is home to around 20 million people. Coconut is the most widespread plantation crop in Sri Lanka, occupying 20% of the cultivated land area. The total extent under coconut cultivation is approximately 443,000 ha. Coconut is essentially a smallholder crop, with 80% of smallholdings ranging from 2-4 ha. Coconut is also grown in home gardens. Of the total production, 70% is being consumed locally and the balance available for coconut-based processing industries. Per capita consumption of coconut in Sri Lanka is about 115 nuts per annum, making it one of the highest per capita coconut consuming countries in the world.

The most widely grown coconut cultivar is the ordinary Tall. The coconut breeding  programme has been in operation since the inception of the Coconut Research Institute (CRISL) in 1929. Genetic improvement of coconut varieties commenced in early 1940’s by crossing selected Sri Lanka Talls to produce the improved cultivars Tall x Tall (CRIC 60). Subsequently, a production programme was also initiated concomitantly which produced the
Dwarf x Tall hybrid (CRIC 61), first introduced in 1965. The first isolated seed garden for mass production of the improved cultivar CRIC 60 was established in 1955.

A systematic coconut germplasm conservation programme was initiated in Sri Lanka in 1984 and over a 16-year period, 90 distinct phenotypes and various ecotypes have been collected and conserved ex situ in CRISL genebanks. Based on random sampling, seven representative accessions were collected from seven target provinces. In the process of biased sampling, special emphasis was made on drought tolerance. A total of 20 accessions from drought prone areas that withstood severe droughts and three introduced populations were collected. Both materials collected as random and biased samples were established in a third germplasm repository consisting of 16 accessions. Both maintenance and data collection of the duplicate genebanks that were established during 1989-90 were carried out successfully and data submitted for inclusion in COGENT’s Coconut Genetic Resources Database was also updated until 2002.

The coconut biotechnology programme was initiated at CRISL in early 1970’s. The Tissue Culture Research Programme was also developed as a successful embryo culture technique for germination of Dikiri Coconut, a high-priced soft endosperm coconut.

More info: pdf.pngConserved coconut germplasm from Sri Lanka (3.2MB); pdf.pngPart 2 (1.8MB)


Collaborative Activities between BIOVERSITY/COGENT and Sri Lanka

1. Capacity Building

a) Technical assistance/ expert advice
Three experts from CIRAD were sent to Sri Lanka in 1999 to evaluate COGENT’s collecting strategies, identify gaps in germplasm collecting and recommend ways to improve coconut PGR conservation efforts in the country.

b) Training and human resources development
Two training course held in Sri Lanka with the Coconut Research Institute (CRI) hosting the activity. The regional STANTECH Course held in 1996 was attended by seven researchers from five countries and the Training Course for the Production of Coconut Shell Handicrafts was attended by six participants from four countries.

A total of eight staff from different coconut research institutions have undergone staff development training in areas such as the use of the STANTECH manual, germplasm collecting and conservation, embryo in vitro culture, technical writing/seminar presentation and proposal writing; coconut data analysis; Statistical Design and Germplasm x Environment Interaction Analysis Training Course.; Training Course for Socio Economic Aspects of Implementing the project on Overcoming Poverty in Coconut Growing Communities; and Coconut embryo culture to improve collecting and safe movement of germplasm.

c) COGENT meetings/workshops
No COGENT-sponsored or –initiated meetings or workshops have been held in Sri Lanka.


2. Research Projects

Ten projects have been carried out in the country, all of which were or are being implemented by CRI.


3. Financial Support and Funding

Donor funding for projects in Sri Lanka amounted to US$ 163,233, with the national government providing counterpart funding of US$ 77,335. Main donors were ADB, APCC, DFID and IFAD.


4. Summary of Activities and Accomplishments, Sri Lanka

The Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) aims to promote national, regional and global collaboration among coconut-producing countries and
partner institutions in the conservation and use of coconut genetic resources for enhanced livelihoods.

The COGENT website is maintained by Bioversity International - Montpellier office.

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