LAGAWE, Ifugao – Concerned government agencies, local governments and farmers groups are now conducting the study on the possibility of having two cropping seasons for the various varieties of heirloom rice that will help in enticing more farmers to embrace heirloom rice production that will bolster efforts to revive the abandoned terraces.
Provincial Administrator Albert Pawingi said that the study on the possibility of having 2 cropping seasons using organic fertilizers was funded by the agriculture department to help bring back the vibrance of the increasing number of abandoned rice terraces in the different parts of the province.
“We hope that the on-going study will be successful so that we will be able to convince the youth to embrace heirloom rice production as one of their sources of livelihood and bring back the scenery of the rice terraces that are planted with native rice,” Pawingi stated.
He added that the study is also being supervised by the technical personnel from the agriculture department while the project is being undertaken through the cooperation of the members of the Tam-an Multipurpose Cooperative, one of the biggest cooperatives in Region II, following the rapid abandonment of the rice terraces in various parts of the province because of the desire of the people and their children to look for greener pasture locally and abroad.
Ifugao is one of the major heirloom rice producer in the region wherein part of the produce is being sold in some parts of the United States at $5 per kilo.
However, Gov. Pedro Mayam-o admitted that the problem being currently encountered by the limited heirloom rice producers is how to sustain the supply of the heirloom rice that will be sold overseas when there is a limited produce due to the once a year production of the native rice apart from the absence of sufficient packaging.
He expressed confidence on the positive outcome of the on-going study for the possibility of having 2 cropping seasons using organic fertilizer for the heirloom rice varieties to prevent the rice terraces from being chemically infected and guarantee the quality of the rice being produced.
Mayam-o claimed that the twice a year production of heirloom rice will definitely entice the youth to start going back to rice terraces farming so that there will be a greater chance for the province to have a share of the huge market of heirloom rice in various parts of the world.
The governor explained that they could not blame the youth when they go out of the province to look for greener pasture thereby resulting to the abandoned rice terraces because of the absence of members of their families to continue the production of heirloom rice that is why the provincial government is trying to work on programs and projects that will maximize the potentials of abandoned rice terraces to sustain the production of heirloom rice to cater to the growing demand locally and abroad.
Pawingi announced that the on-going study is being conducted in selected rice terraces in Hingyon town wherein it was the site identified by the Tam-an Multipurpose Cooperative as a potential area for the improved production of heirloom rice varieties beneficial to the improved sources of livelihood of the residents in the said areas.
Ifugao is known globally for having hosted the rice terraces that was adjudged as the Eight Wonder of the World.