Friday, May 2, 2014

Traditional agricultural system in Kihan

The traditional agricultural system in Kihan is characterized primarily by subsistence farming. Production is geared towards food security and other basic needs rather than market forces. The place is poorly integrated to commercial markets due to its inaccessibility and the lack of road networks to link the far flung Sitios to commercial markets. Barangay Kihan is predominantly inhabited by the Blaan indigenous peoples group. The Blaan devotion to cultural ritual is closely tied to their traditional upland rice agricultural system. The study focused into the inventory of the different upland rice varieties, understanding of their traditional knowledge on upland rice farming system, understanding socio-cultural pressures that contributed to the loss of rare upland rice varieties and the advocacy for in situ conservation of their precious upland rice varieties.

View of Sitio Banlas, the farthest community with the most farmers growing upland rice

Rice farms in yellow patches viewed from Sitio Limbunga

View of Sitio Amlitos with corn area and irrigated lowland rice
 Upland rice is a key to recovering biodiversity as a fundamental dimension of household food security among ICCs. Upland rice farming is considered as a household affair among the Blaan tribe of Brgy. Kihan. They own their land as inheritance from their parents and most farms are dominated by male farmers. Study revealed that most of the farmers are within the age range of 26-45 who had been farming for over 16 years. Respondents said that farm preparation for upland rice planting is from March to May. This farm activity synchronization is practiced for cultural pest management, thus, dispersing the pest infestation if ever they occur. The timing is also necessary for the Bayanihan system or sahul so that farmers can commit to help in another farmers’ farm. Considering their terrain as rolling to steep mountainous farms, most farmers use hand hoe to cultivate the soil. They also use dibble stick to make holes for the upland rice. These implements are efficiently used for minimum tillage in steep sloped farms. Others with not so rolling farms use draft animals like carabaos, horses, and cow in land preparation and harrowing. Blaan farmers return all farm wastes like animal manure (e.g. carabao, cow, horses, chicken), crop residues and rice straws to bring back productivity of the soil during fallow period.
Dibble stick used for planting rice during the ritual called Lamgi
2005 Upland rice research team (MSU-Science Department lead by Dr. James Namocatcat
and Professor Florence Lasalita-Zapico, Indigenous Peoples Development Program
                             staff and volunteers)with Barangay Kihan Officials and community members                                  

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