The Philippines is recognized as one of the world’s megadiverse countries and is a designated global biodiversity hotspot. The country features an extraordinary diversity of globally significant agrobiodiversity, including more than 9,000 endemic plant species and over 5,500 traditional rice varieties.In addition, the country boasts a broad spectrum of indigenous and endemic species of vegetable and fruit crops including indigenous varieties of eggplants and cucurbits, mung beans, winged bean and soybeans, taro and yam, as well as indigenous varieties of banana among many others. The indigenous fibre crop abaca is another prominent example of the Philippines’ wealth of agrobiodiversity.The country forms part of one of the six areas identified worldwide by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as priority genetic reserve locations for agricultural crops.
The country’s diversity of agricultural species and varieties contributes significantly to provision of food and nutrition, water and soil regulation, as well as performing a cultural role as agriculture heritage. Agrobiodiversity has been conserved, managed and sustained by local communities, primarily smallholders, family farmers and indigenous people, through traditional agricultural practices that conserve and enhance biodiversity at genetic, species and landscape level.
The project “Dynamic Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agro-biodiversity in Traditional Agro-ecosystems of the Philippines” or the Agro-biodiversity Project is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) together with the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) as the Executing Partner or the Lead Coordinating Agency (LCA). This project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aims to enhance, expand and sustain the dynamic conservation practices that sustain globally significant agricultural biodiversity (ABD) in traditional agro-ecosystems of the Philippines. The Project has three pilot project sites, including the Municipalities of Hingyon and Hungduan in Ifugao Province and the Municipality of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato Province.
The Agro-biodiversity Project is contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 2 on Zero Hunger, and also contributing to the second of FAO’s Strategic Objectivesor SO2: Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable