|Arjho helping Blaan women upland rice farmer harvest during the conduct of the first upland rice research in Sarangani Province in partnership with Mindanao State University (Science Department)-General Santos City back in 2005|
- Traditional knowledge (TK) is a way of life. The Blaan tribe traditional knowledge extends back to hundreds or even thousands of years. Their cultural roots are solidly planted in traditional knowledge and practices that highlights environmental understanding like their traditional upland rice agriculture. It is holistic; it cannot be compartmentalized and cannot be separated from the people who hold it. Their upland rice farming is characterized by subsistence farming and is primarily geared towards household food security.
- Acquiring a deep understanding of Blaan traditional knowledge on their upland rice farming systems requires a great investment of time for the immersion activities in the communities from planting to harvesting season. A partnership was created with the Brgy. Council and Tribal Council of Brgy. Kihan thru the IPDP staff and MSU-Gensan scientists that carries out the research with them.
- Blaan traditional knowledge on upland rice farming represents a unique opportunity for agricultural projects in the upland ecosystem to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. This will also add new world views and perspectives to the many variables that are part of agricultural development project planning and implementation (Emery, 2000). The on-farm or in situ conservation of traditional upland rice varieties should be placed as a priority approach for agricultural intervention in Kihan and even other upland rice farming communities of Sarangani Province.
- Blaan devotion to cultural ritual is closely tied to their traditional upland rice agricultural system. Preserving the Blaan tribe traditional knowledge in their upland rice farming needs to be embodied in the decisions about government agricultural projects that affect their upland communities. There is a need for co-management agreements wherein Blaan upland rice traditional knowledge and available technological knowledge are used together that can significantly improve the management of upland ecosystem resources for household food security. Different levels of Government in Sarangani (Provincial, Municipal, Barangay) need to assist the Blaan indigenous peoples by combining traditional and scientific knowledge in cooperative ventures. This will help the participating stakeholders of these ventures to understand how to manage the population wild stocks of their upland rice under different regimes such as the current natural traditional management styles and future project transformation of toward market-economy-based management.
- It is also implied that the different levels of LGUs (Sarangani Provincial Government, Municipality of Malapatan and Barangay Kihan) specifically need to protect the intellectual property rights (IPR) for the Blaan traditional upland rice genetic resources.