A government agency and a private seed company are collaborating to conserve the genetic resources of plant varieties in the Philippines.
These are the University of the Philippines Los Baños through its National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory-Institute of plant breeding (NPGRL-IPB) and East-West Seed Philippines, now one of the Top 10 seed companies in the world.
The NPGRL-IPB is the country’s national genebank that holds a large collection of local germplasm and exotic materials.
According to Marilyn Belarmino, Genetic Resource Manager of East-West Seed Group, “Farmers face a number of risks to their productivity posed by climate change. It is crucial to ensure that improved crop varieties are available to help our farmers adapt to these changes. Preserving the Philippines plant genetic resources serves as a king of insurance – it provides the resources that we need to breed crops that can meet the challenges brought about by climate change and the new and evolving diseases and insect pests. It also helps ensure our food security and the quality of food products.”
The public-private partnership is envisioned to contribute to fast-tracking the regeneration and characterization of NPGRL’s local germplasm and exotic materials that may translate to increased availability of traits needed in developing improved crop varieties.
East-West Seed will collaborate with NPGRL in regenerating 150 germplasm accessions per year, and characterizing of regeneraqted plants. The partnership also extends to the collection of local germplasms, and conduct of research and trainings related to crop germplasm conservation.
“Helping NPGRL maintain the Philippine crop germplasm collection means making ‘gene treasures’ available for present and future crop cimprovement that will ultimately benefit our farmers and the agriculture industry,” added Belarmino.- (Press Release}