IPs okay conduct of heirloom research study

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The indigenous peoples (IP) of the expansion areas of Mt. Province, of their own free will and with full understanding, approve the conduct of the Department of Agriculture–Cordillera’s Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) research study.

The municipality of Sadanga, Barlig, Sagada and Tadian, each represented by the community’s elders, leaders and farmers, signed the Certificate of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) signifying approval of the research entitled “Conserving and Increasing Productivity and Value of Heirloom Rice in the Cordillera” in specific barangays of the said municipalities.

The study entails the planting and collection of heirloom varieties to be characterized and conserved in partnership with International Rice Research Institute and Philippine Rice Research Institute. The research focuses generally on increasing the income of farmers and sustaining the heritage and food security of the rice-growing villages of the Cordillera.

During the discussions among farmers in the target municipalities, the most common comment received is the restriction of any foreign matters in the fields and the application of chemicals.

May Ann Tuba-ang, a project technical staff, confirmed that the conduct of the study will replicate the current existing system of communities and not alter the communities’ systems.

The signing of the consent is in compliance with the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act for IPs to exercise their right to accept or reject a certain development intervention in the community. The FPIC is the consensus of all the members of the IP community free from any external manipulation, interference and coercion and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of a project.

As each community approved the conduct of the study, the project will proceed to the Participatory Needs and Opportunities Assessment to further understand the current situation of the heirloom rice in the community and come up with possible interventions.

By Jenny M. Dayao

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