DA Cordillera sustains organic entity of heirloom rice

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet  – The Department of Agriculture Cordillera through its Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) in partnership with Agriculture Training Institute pushes for the preservation of the organic entity of Cordillera’s very own heirloom rice through the Training on Integrated Nutrient and Pest Management for Heirloom Rice Growers recently.

Heirloom rice growers in Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao and Mt. Province learned new technologies and knowledge on integrated nutrient and pest management to improve their heirloom rice production and post-production practices.

“There must be balance among natural organisms in the field,” explained Jerry Batcagan, PhilRice research specialist. He pointed out that Insect Pest Management is an ecologically- based pest control strategy that relies heavily on natural mortality factors and weather. He added that control by natural enemies (biological control) is cheap, effective, and not disruptive of other elements of the ecosystem.

Batcagan elaborated that the presence of few individuals of insects in the field does not indicate that they are inflicting damage that may result in significant grain yield reduction and does not necessarily constitute a pest problem. When species population is higher than normal, then they can be considered as pests.

Furthermore, bio-fermentation, which is a widely accepted practice for organic practitioners, was also introduced.

The project intends to register heirloom rice products  within the region as organically produced for value addition purposes and most of the common rice technologies developed or extended to producers does not conform with organic standards.

Thus the need to introduce organic way of nutrient and pest management to heirloom rice producers to improve their production without losing the common image of heirloom rice which is organically grown that has a great value in terms of value.

By Jenny M. Dayao

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