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Saturday, May 18, 2024

DA Cordillera conserves corn varieties for future generations

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The Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office Cordillera (DA-RFO CAR) said it is actively safeguarding the region’s rich agricultural heritage by conserving indigenous and traditional corn varieties.

Under the Corn Germplasm Utilization through Advanced Research Development (CGUARD) Project, they collected 746 traditional corn samples from 57 barangays across six municipalities in Benguet and Mountain Province between 2023 and 2024.

Collected samples are undergoing cleaning and preparation for long-term storage at the Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC) at the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center (BABRC) in Dontogan, Baguio City.

Established through a partnership between DA-RFO CAR and the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, PGRC serves as a vital repository not only for corn but also for heirloom rice and other traditional crops crucial to the region’s agricultural history.

The partnership aims to document, regenerate, and conserve traditional corn varieties for future generations.

Prior to collecting the corn samples, the DA-RFO CAR, with the facilitation of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), obtained Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from the involved communities. Othel V. Campos

This ensured respectful collaboration with indigenous communities as partners in safeguarding their agricultural heritage.

The CGUARD Project meticulously documents and analyzes the morphological characteristics of traditional corn varieties.

About 56 seed samples from Kabayan, Benguet are undergoing detailed characterization at the BABRC. The data will be invaluable for future research and development efforts aimed at creating improved corn varieties while preserving the unique traits of these traditional crops.

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