IPs OK conduct of heirloom rice research study

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The indigenous peoples (IP) of the expansion areas of Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain Province of free will and full understanding approve the conduct of the Department of Agriculture – Cordillera’s Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) research study.

Specifically, the municipalities include Kapangan and Bakun in Benguet, Sadanga, Barlig, Sagada, and Tadian in Mountain Province, and Kiangan in Ifugao.

The IPs per municipality in the different provinces represented by the each community’s elders, leaders, and farmers signed the Certificate of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) signifying approval to the research of the project entitled “Conserving and Increasing Productivity and Value of Heirloom Rice in the Cordillera.”

The project specifically focuses in the existing heirloom rice varieties of the different identified barangays per municipality per province.

The study contains 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 and sustains the heritage and food security in the rice terraces of the Cordillera.

After series of discussions, most of the IPs’ comment of the municipalities visited is the restriction of any foreign matters in the fields and the application of chemicals.

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

The signing of the consent is in observance of the IP Rights Act to exercise the rights of the IPs 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 conduct the Participatory Needs and Opportunities Assessment in order 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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