LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – To advocate and persevere the revitalization and conservation of the heirloom rice in the province of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, the Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project (DA-HRP) gives P30,478,400 worth of interventions to the different provincial cooperatives and self-help groups.
The interventions include spring development projects, mini-warehouse, a heirloom rice processing center, heirloom rice terraces restoration, solar bubble dryer, moisture meters, HDPE hoses, vacuum sealers, knapsack sprayers, and Farmer Field’s School supplies and materials. About 600 heirloom rice farmers in the region will benefit from the interventions.
Under the terraces restoration, the project aims to expand the production area, thereby increasing the supply for the growing demand of heirloom rice and strengthening sustainability in the project sites or communities.
Dr. Virginia A. Tapat, one of the project leaders, explains that the beneficiaries identified per cooperative are required to repay a minimum of 40% of the total amount of restoration cost in the respective farm of the beneficiary to the provincial cooperative, either in kind or in cash, within three years after completion of restoration project.
Furthermore, each provincial heirloom rice cooperative will manage the collected 40% repayment from the beneficiaries. From the 40%, the 2% shall be allotted for the rice terraces restoration of next in line beneficiaries of the provincial cooperative while the other 20% shall be used as the provincial cooperative’s operational fund.
The same guideline will follow from the next in line beneficiaries.
Dr. Magdalena T. Wanawan, one of the project leaders, emphasized that the interventions are meant to augment the farmers’ identified problems existing in the community.
With the delimiting number of items given to specific individuals, Dr. Wanawan hopes that the beneficiaries will share the interventions to other farmers.
On the other hand, the department enters the Phase II of the project, which will focus on the newly identified expansion areas within Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province also after receiving the approval of the indigenous people of each community.
By Jenny M. Dayao