July 26, 2010 in Featured
By JENNYLINE S. TABANGCURA
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — A compendium identifying 83 native rice varieties cultivated in 12 Benguet municipalities has recently been published by the Benguet State University (BSU).
The compendium shows the local names, the place of collection, color and shape of grains and other characteristics of the native rice varieties identified through a process of field interviews, germplasm collection and validation-workshops in close coordination with the municipal governments.
In the foreword, BSU President, Dr. Rogelio D. Colting, Sr. discussed that the production of traditional rice is slowly decreasing due to the introduction of high yielding varieties. However, in Benguet, indigenous rice is still preferred.
The introduction of modern varieties may result to the diversity loss of traditional rice. Thus, there is an urgent need to collect and characterize native rice.
The compendium shows that Tublay, unlike the other municipalities, no longer has non-glutinous native rice varieties as the farmers have opted to cultivate modern varieties.
“A very important crop, the native rice or rice landraces have been cultivated for centuries in the place. In addition to increasing farmer’s self-sufficiency by expanding their agricultural survival tool-kit, traditional landraces heighten native communities’ identity by providing direct cultural links to their unique ancestral heritage as depicted in the rich culture of the Benguet People,” reads the compendium’s introduction.
The compendium was authored by Dr. Julia A. Solimen, College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Belinda A. Tad-awan staff researchers Prof. Milagros R. Dumaslan and Mr. Meynardo P. Tosay.
A continuation of the study is the further evaluation of rice landraces with superior characteristics such as long awns that may indicate resistance to insect pest attack and efficient seed dispersal and high grain weight that may indicate high yield. This will lead to the identification of an heirloom rice variety for Benguet.
In the identification of an heirloom rice variety, Dr. Tad-awan added that elders/farmers, MAOs, Agricultural Technicians from the different municipalities of Benguet will also be consulted.# nordis.net