The Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research for development project by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
It aimed to meet the needs of the Cordillera farmers through research on heirloom rice. Project activities were divided among the three agencies and assigned based on institutional capabilities and expertise. The project outcomes are aligned with DA’s agenda of “ani” (harvest) and “kita” (profit).
Philippine Cordillera Heirloom Rice: Varietal Catalogue
Heirloom rice farmers can get information on the important inter-generational characteristics of their treasured seeds - from vegetative up to the postharvest stage, including information on disease resistance.
The catalogue serves as a reference for the general public in selecting particular traits for their precise purpose such as chefs, traders, and general consumers of heirloom rice on the appearance (i.e. grain color), grain consistency (i.e. glutinous or not), eating quality (i.e. soft or hard), shape and other traits of the culinary and gustatory value of the heirloom rice varieties.
Expanded Value Chain Analysis of Heirloom Rice in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
The Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) of IRRI and DA has made great progress in achieving its goals, but there are still some challenges that need to be addressed.
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of data on the resistance of heirloom rice varieties to local pests and diseases. To address this challenge, IRRI is working with DA and other local partners to collect, isolate, and evaluate pathogen isolates from the Cordillera region. This will help to determine the actual resistance of heirloom rice varieties to natural pests and diseases.
There has also been significant progress made in bringing heirloom rice varieties to consumers, and it is hoped that this trend will continue in the future.
In addition, there is a need for scaling post-harvest innovations to improve the storage and marketing of heirloom rice.
These are just a few of the challenges that the HRP is facing and addressing. With the help of DA, IRRI is confident that the Philippines can continue to make progress in the conservation and use of traditional rice varieties.