Friday, May 2, 2014

Genetic erosion factors in the upland rice farms of Kihan

Farmers expressed that there are 62 varieties considered diminishing and 47 varieties were no longer cultivated in their farms. Reasons for the non-cultivation and dis-appearance of the rare upland rice varieties are: El Nino and La Nina phenomenon in 1998, difficulty to pound by some varieties due to their tiny size; hard grain texture when cooked, late maturing variety, lack of capital for cultivation and payment of farm labor; low seed availability, and low yield during harvest time, introduction of modern varieties and more cultivation for cash crops. Given this situation, conservation appears to be driven by the needs where farmers conserve varieties with desired agronomic traits to the exclusion of other varieties. Crops and varieties grown by farmers primarily depended on their use and the individual farmers’ preferences (Huvio, 1999). In some cases, little or no effort done at the conservation due to unavailability of the abovementioned planting materials. Information gathered revealed the there is genetic erosion of rice gene pool in the area due to non-cultivation of other traditional cultivars. In a few cases, the large number of rice varieties and the very small planting areas had contributed to genetic erosion. Also, small harvest is directly related to the small size of the upland rice farm. The smaller the farm, the smaller harvest per variety affecting their allocation of the harvested upland rice resource. Growing number of the family leads to the consumption of upland rice kept for seeds and other cultural uses to cope for household food. The diverse rice cultivars are disappearing unless measures will be undertaken to stop or minimize the occurrence of genetic erosion in the upland rice farmer’s fields of Brgy. Kihan. This loss of crop varieties causes genetic erosion or a loss of genetic resource which is a negative consequence of agricultural development (Brush, 2000).

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