The Heirloom Rice Project’s collection of traditional rice landraces increased immensely in the province of Benguet with the conduct of Massive Collection through Seed Fair.
Veronica Fang-asan, Senior Science Research Specialist, of the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Cordillera explained that the fair aimed to intensify the preservation and conservation of different heirloom rice landraces in the province through seed collection from the farmers.
The project initially only covered Kibungan during its first years of implementation but latter expanded to Kapangan and Bakun covering all the traditional rice producing barangays of each municipality.
The project again collected landraces in Kibungan and expanded with the new sets of collections in the other municipalities.
The project covers barangay Palina and Poblacion, Kibungan with a previous collection of 14 unique names of traditional rice and recorded an additional 14 unique names from 15 farmers during the recent fair. On the other hand, the project collected 34 landraces in Kapangan from 34 farmers and 40 landraces from 35 farmers were collected in Bakun.
These landraces will undergo different researches which include agro-morphic characterization, yield evaluation, grain quality and nutritional content by the department, International Rice Research Institute and Philippine Rice Research Institute.
A specific weight of each landrace will also be given to the three agencies for conservation.
Fang-asan explained that the activity will be also be conducted in the other traditional rice producing municipalities and expansion barangays after the communities have given their consent for the collection, preservation and characterization of these traditional landraces.
By Jenny M. Dayao