Issue of June 10, 2018
Mt. Province

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Gene banking secures heirloom rice for 40 yrs
by Jenny M. Dayao

The Heirloom Rice Project of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), secures the sustainability of Cordillera’s centuries-old heirloom rice for the next 40 years through genebanking.

The seeds will be stored in a black box to conserve the rice within a span of 25 to 40 years.

Currently, 69 heirloom rice landraces from Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, and Kalinga are kept in IRRI and PhilRice’s genebank.

Additional 126 inherited rice varieties will be included this year from the project’s expansion barangays in the said provinces bringing to 195 samples conserved.

PhilRice pointed out that the threat of losing these valuable materials such as the heirloom rice makes conservation efforts increasingly urgent.

The project also discovered through community consultations that there are landraces which are no longer planted, while some are on the verge of extinction.

Through genebanking, May Ann C. Tuba-ang, agriculturist II, unforeseen events, the community can retrieve the seeds from both of the agencies for reproduction.

The collection of seeds from the different communities was conducted after receiving the approval of each barangay covered.

The project also aims to preserve heirloom  rice by increasing production to encourage farmers to continue producing the rice passed down by their ancestors.

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