BSF Taro BSF Taro
Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Underutilised Taro to Increase Food Security and Improve Livelihoods of Marginalised Communities Faced with Climate Change
Training of Trainers (ToT) 'On-farm Conservation of Taro'
Date: November 2021
The Training of Trainers or TOT was conducted last November 9 and 10, 2021 via the Zoom platform and was hosted by the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory, Institute of Plant Breeding (NPGRL, IPB).
Dr. Fe dela Cueva, Director of IPB, gave a heartfelt welcome for the participants and resource of the ToT. She also congratulated the project team in conducting such an activity given the current situation due the pandemic. The training had 24 participants composed of Municipal Agriculture Officers and Agricultural Technicians from four provinces (Camarines Sur, Oriental Mindoro, Quezon and Aurora) consisting 8 municipalities (Bula, Camarines Sur; Lucena City, Guinayangan, San Francisco and Dolores from Quezon Province; Calapan City and Balaasan in Oriental Mindoro; and, San Luis, Aurora Province).

Eight resource speakers were invited to present topics on varieties of taro, production and practices in Region VII, pests and diseases of taro and their control, lowland taro production in Camarines Sur, the Philippine National Standards for fresh taro roots and leaves. Day 2 of the training focused on the topic of value chain of taro. The processing and marketing of taro was presented from three perspectives – the private sector (Deloverges Agrifarm), the farmers’ cooperative (Nabua Gabi Farmers’ Association), and the manufacturer and exporter point of view (DryTech Manufacturing Corp.). The Project Team presented the overview of the BSF Project, output of the farmers’ survey, morphological characterization of the taro germplasm collections and conservation strategies for taro.

Towards the end of the second day of the ToT a planning workshop was conducted to conceptualize a framework and develop strategies for the establishment of the farmers’ field school and the model for on-farm conservation of taro varieties. A preliminary discussion among stakeholders came up with a tentative agreement that the Municipality of San Luis, Aurora will establish a demo farm for on-farm conservation of taro. The Municipalities of Bula, Camarines Sur and Calapan, Oriental Mindoro are willing to conduct a farmers’ field school (FFS) as well establish a community genebank to conserve the different traditional varieties of taro in the two provinces.

Preliminary activities will include gathering baseline information on the different traditional varieties of taro in Calapan and Bula. They will also identify taro growers and farmers’ associations in their municipalities. A working committee was also formed for the development of the Farmers’ Field School Training Module. The committee include Ms. Lourdes Esmundo (San Luis, Aurora), Mr. Marc Jevin Barretto (Lucena, Quezon), Mr. John Paolo Rongco (Bula, Camarines Sur), Mr. Rene Datinguinoo (Calapan, Oriental Mindoro), Mr. Allen Herrera, Ms. Maria Lea H. Villavicencio, Ms. Hidelisa De Chavez and Mr. Jonathan Descalsota. The tentative schedule for the conduct of the FFS will be during the first quarter of year 2022.

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