BAGUIO CITY – To support the revitalization and preservation of the heirloom rice industry in the Cordillera, the Agriculture Sub-Sectoral Committee of the Economic Development Sectoral Committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) was presented with a situationer of the industry by the Department of Agriculture Cordillera (DA-CAR) for the RDC to consider what initiatives it can undertake for its improvement.
In its 1st quarter meeting, the Agriculture Sub-Sectoral Committee recognized the cultural significance and economic potential of heirloom rice or more commonly known as the traditional rice in the region.
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey explained that before the pandemic, the market for heirloom rice which is only grown in the Cordillera has shown potential.
“Our flag carrier or the Philippine Air Lines actually started to use our heirloom rice in their operations which was a way of promoting the heirloom rice. This is aside from established markets in the US and foreigners starting to place orders for heirloom rice which indicates that there is a market for it,” Odsey said.
Heirloom rice is a special kind of indigenous rice that has been planted and handed down by the ancestors of indigenous peoples through generations in the Cordillera that possesses outstanding quality, aroma, texture, color, and taste, and with high nutritional value and is treasured by the communities that have developed them.
The preservation of the Cordillera heirloom rice is seen by the Agriculture Sub-Sectoral Committee not only as a way to maintain its genetic traits but a way to uphold and sustain the rich tradition of rice farming in the region which also shows the unique agricultural rituals and practices such as communal farming practice.
Odsey, who was elected as the RDC Agriculture Sub-Committee Chairman together with the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries (RAFC) Chairperson Ryan Palunan as Co-Chairperson, added that the support provided by members of the sub-committee is a testament to its objective of revitalizing and preserving the heirloom rice industry in the Cordillera.