Cultivation and Conservation of Traditional Food Crops and Perceptions of Farmers on Biodiversity Loss in the Cordillera Administrative Region

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Belinda A. Tad-awan Esther Josephine D. Sagalla


Traditional food crops are being planted for decades in the Cordillera Administrative Region and have been cultivated for various purposes. Traditional crops in the six provinces of the Region were documented and the perceptions of 221 farmers on the loss, utilization and conservation of traditional food crops were determined. A structured questionnaire containing indicators for the loss, utilization and conservation of traditional food crops was used. The farmer-respondents have been introduced to these crops by their forefathers from their childhood which they are cultivating due to their aroma, delicious taste and resistance to pests. Results show that there are 22 major traditional crops being cultivated in the Cordillera Administrative Region. The most commonly planted are rice, cowpeas, sweet potato, corn, taro and winged bean. Some traditional varieties are short-lived due to the introduction of high yielding varieties. Specifically, traditional varieties of rice had the highest loss since the farmers shifted to planting high value crops. Majority of the farmer-respondents utilize traditional food crops as source of food and additional income for their families. The farmers also conserve these food crops through continuous cultivation, storage of seeds and seed exchange with other farmers. In spite of the utilization and conservation efforts, the fact remains that the cultivation of traditional food crops especially rice is decreasing. Thus, there should be continuous conservation and establishment of community gene banks for traditional food crops.

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