ABIDJAN - Researchers in Ivory Coast are asking $1 million for a three-headed hybrid coconut tree they believe could substantially boost the tropical nut's yield.

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.

"We still don't have a buyer, but we are hopeful because we remain in talks with certain partners to buy this hybrid," said Jean Louis Konan, head of NARC's coconut research program.

Researchers decided last year to sell the hybrid to support the research centre, whose 800 hectares (1,980 acres) of coconut trees contain 99 varieties from across the world.

The centre, which donates hybrids to different countries, is striving to find a means of reproducing the three-headed tree using its nuts.

"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."

Ivory Coast has 50.000 hectares of coconut trees, which are used to make soap, cooking oil and cookies. Indonesia and Philippines are the world's largest coconut growers.