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Regional Plant Genetic Resources Center opens in Palawan

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By Peter Policarpio

To store seeds of the different varieties of plants for conservation and research purposes, the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC) of Region IV-B MIMAROPA was formally opened in Palawan Agricultural Center, Brgy. Irawan, Puerto Princesa City this morning, May 30.

Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the PGRC aims to store seeds of crops in the region for preservation. This is to ensure the crops’ survival amidst the different threats in the environment to secure food supply and the agriculture industry for the generations to come.

“Ang importansya po ng Plant Genetic Resources, alam po natin na tayo lahat ay hindi na tayo bata dito, for future generation. So whatever commodities or indigenous materials na me’ron tayo sa ating region, ‘yun po ‘yung icoconserve natin para ‘pag nagkaroon ng calamities me’ron po tayong paguumpisahan ulit,” said Digna Sandoval, BAR Assistant Director during the inaugural program.

Indigenous varieties of plants in Palawan including varieties developed by the Palawan Research and Experiment Station (PRES) as well as other plant varieties in other provinces in the region will benefit as the new facility will protect from threats like natural calamities and infestations or non-use.

“Itong station nila (PRES) ay ano po siya, sila ang nagpo-produce ng mga organic vegetable so which means marami ditong vegetable na which I think na indigenous dito sa Palawan. So ‘yun ‘yung isang advantage kasi nito, main function nitong Plant Genetic Resource Center, to collect, not only collect, we have to conserve also what we have not only in the station but in the entire region of Palawan para ‘yung mga nakolekta natin ay magiging ano ‘yan, magiging source ng genetic material for future generation especially now na with the advent of climate change, nawawala na yung mga iba-iba nating mga crop genetic resources,” said Sandoval in an interview.

Dr. Louella Lorenzana, Regional Technical Director for Research of DA-MIMAROPA, DA-PRES was able to develop different variants of crops including six variants of cashew. The station was able to register two of the cashews variety namely “Mitra” and “Recto” in which planting materials are ready to be distributed. DA-PRES is expecting the approval of the registration of the other four cashew varieties namely: “Fernandez”, “Gonzales”, “Caliwag”, and “Eleazar”.

“We have two cashew varieties, it’s the Mitra variety and the Recto … ready na kami magdistribute ng planting materials with tag sa variety na ito because we developed that from the station and we have four more in the process of evaluation and then hopefully in the next three years makalabas na, approved na itong varieties na ito. So we will be having six varieties for utilization. These are promising good varieties for production of cashew here in Palawan,” Lorenzana explained in an interview.

The genetic materials or seeds can still be used and grown after years of storage in the center.

The inauguration was attended by regional research managers and technical directors from all over the country who also attended the 2019 2nd Quarter Research Managers’ Meeting from 28th to 30th of May where they presented their accomplishments per region.