First-of-a-kind PGR Center in Reg. 2 inaugurated

Dr. Eleazar 2nd from left leads the inauguration of the facilityA Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) Center was launched during the opening of the First Cagayan Valley Makan Festival on 16 May 2018 at the Department of Agriculture-Cagayan Valley Research Center (DA-CVRC) in Ilagan, Isabela.

The PGR Center, funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), through its Institutional Development Grant, is a first-of-a-kind genebank facility in Luzon that houses a variety of collections of major and high value crops for future source of genetic materials for crop improvement undertakings.

According to Dr. Nicomedes Eleazar, BAR director, who attended the inauguration, the facility is a result of a collaborative effort with the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) of the Korea’s Rural Development Administration. “We sent researchers from regions, 2, 4A, and 5 for trainings on plant genetic resources. In support to that, we funded the establishment of a PGR Center to ensure the sustainability of such undertakings,” the bureau chief explained. Dir. Eleazar reiterated the need for judicious use of resources mentioning that, funding research initiatives must go hand-in-hand with supporting state-of-the-art research facilities. “We just don’t support research initiatives that matter, we also need to support the necessary research facilities to bring the deliverables,” he said.

Facade of the PGR Center

He furthered that the PGR Center serves as a “mini IRRI genebank facility” but focuses not only on rice. Included in the genebank are the 2,000 collections of native corn varieties out of the Corn Germplasm Utilization through Advance Research and Development (CGUARD), an initiative which was also being funded by BAR. Initiated in 2015, the CGUARD program aims to collect, conserve, and develop native corn germplasm for agronomic response to different environment and physiological stresses including pests and diseases, soil acidity and salinity, soil fertility, drought, and water logging.

The PGR Center is located inside CVRC, which was declared by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 2 as an agri-ecotourism farm destination in 2016 making it Ilagan’s third tourist spots along with the Ilagan Sanctuary and the Japanese War Tunnel. CVRC is the first accredited agro-ecotourism farm in the region due to its promotion of organic farming, presence of pasalubong center, and other amenities, including the PGR center where tourists can fully appreciate the farming as a thriving sector.### (Rita T. dela Cruz)

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