The Regional Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC) of the MIMAROPA Region opens in Puerto Princesa City to provide assistance to the farmers

The Regional Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC) of the MIMAROPA Region opened Thursday in Puerto Princesa City to serve as a storage facility for cashew and vegetables.

Digna Sandoval, assistant director of Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), said they chose Palawan as the location of the regional PGRC because of its rich biodiversity and strategic location.

“We have chosen Palawan as where we established our Regional Plant Genetic Resource Center because we know that Palawan is rich in biodiversity and also itong station nila, sila ang nag-pro-produce ng organic vegetable which means na marami dito na vegetable which I think ay indigenous dito sa Palawan,” Sandoval said.

Varities of vegetables and cashews stored inside the Plant Genetic Resources Center

BAR allotted P3 million for the construction of the facility, she said, adding the center will collect and conserve varieties that could be a source of genetic materials, especially those that are disappearing.

Sandoval added that BAR plans to put up the same facility nationwide.

“Hopefull, this facility will be operational soon so the farmers can utilize this. Not only the farmers, but other stakeholders could also utilize this. ‘Yong Department of Agriculture (DA) MIMAROPA din, itong Palawan Experiment Station, sana ‘yon din ang puwede nila ibigay na assistance sa mga farmers,” Sandoval added.

Dr. Louella Lorenzana, regional technical director for research, said there are already two cashew varieties stored in the PGRC — the Mitra and Recto varieties.

There are four more varieties which she hoped will be approved in the next three years.

There are also varieties of vegetables of sitaw, cucumber, and squash that will be developed in the station.

Farmers can use the facility to store varieties which researchers can select and evaluate for genetic resources.

“Hindi kailangan na sila ang pupunta dito, kontakin lang nila kami and mga researcher na namin ang pupunta to make sure na ang makolekta nilang seeds are of the right maturity na puwedeng i-store, it’s free,” Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana pointed out that indigenous materials available today in the field may disappear and conserving them may solve this.

“Yong kinakain natin ngayon, kung meron tayong naka-store diyan na genetic materials kasi palaging may nadi-develop na bago. So yong na-enjoy natin na pagkain ngayon, there’s a guarantee na makakain ng ating children, ng ating children’s children and the succeeding generations kung ‘yon pa ang gusto nila kainin,” she said.