Friday, May 2, 2014

High genetic diversity of traditional upland rice in Kihan

Upland rice patches of Sitio Katnog, Kihan, Malapatan, Sarangani Province


The survey and semi-structured interviews among the 42 upland rice farmers with indicated that there is high genetic diversity of traditional upland rice (108 varieties) identified in Barangay Kihan, a significant indicator of traditional agricultural system. They traditionally classified their upland rice varieties as Mlal fali (short growing) and Laweh fali (long growing). This indigenous system of rice classification is based on farmers’ characterization. Among the 108 varieties, three varieties were favored by most of the farmers to be planted are larangan (79%) as it can be planted all year round, fitam kwat (64%) due to its high yield and manabang (55%). The seeds they have at present are handed down from their forefathers, some from the Barangay Council and Government program like UDP existing in the area, some are from barter and labor exchange to other farmers. Choice of particular variety either for food or for seed banking is based on reasons related to palatability (nutritious) and fragrance, high yielding, resistance to pests and insects, drought resistance, storability and fast growing varieties. On farm conservation of local varieties is an existing strategy for food security among the Blaan tribe. It is also a potential strategy for genetic conservation in Brgy. Kihan because varieties those farmers manage continue to evolve in response to natural and human selections. The evidence of many Kihan farmers’ selections in rice field indicates continuing process of maintaining rice varieties that specifically fit their own needs and local conditions. Moreover, respondents revealed that the diversity of other crops (57 species) categorized into vegetables, root crops and fruits in upland rice farms served different purposes. Most crops are used for household consumption especially the root crops, some are believed to be alternate hosts for pests, some for medicinal value, some to prevent soil erosion. Some are cash crops that are sold to the local market. The incorporation of wild resources and high diversity of other crops in their upland rice farms formed a livelihood strategy among the Blaan farmers. 
Click HERE for other traditional upland rice varieties photos.Photos of the different varieties were taken by Cocoy A. Sexcion.

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