Ifugao OTOP targets to export 5 tons tinawon rice in 2007
by Vency D. Bulayungan
BANAUE, Ifugao (28 April) -- In line with one of the priority programs of the Arroyo Administration to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs through One Town, One Product-Philippines (OTOP), a total of 2.4 tons of tinawon (Ifugao native rice) rice was exported last year, with five tons targeted for export this year.
Marcela Carbonel, Trade and Industry specialist of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here said that this is the OTOP of the municipalities of Hingyon and Banaue, but it has been expanded to the adjoining towns of Hungduan, Tinoc, Kiangan, Asipulo, Mayoyao, Hingyon and Lagawe to help produce the target this year.
Carbonel disclosed that local officials of Hingyon and Banaue are assisting their farmers to intensify production to be able to meet the demands of the market.
In 2005, Hingyon was able to export 700 kilos of tinawon while Banaue was able to produce and export 2,040 kilos. Organic markets in Metro Manila are also interested to sell the tinawon rice.
The two LGUs are also being assisted by the agriculture office here and the Eight Wonder Incorporated which provided tinawon seeds to the 104 members.
The Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM),a non government organization conducted trainings on skills entrepreneurship and are also monitoring the program.
Through the OTOP, the local chief executives of each city and municipality take the lead in identifying, developing, and promoting a specific product or service which has a competitive advantage. This program supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to manufacture, offer, and market distinctive products or services through the use of indigenous raw materials and local skills and talents.
OTOP-Philippines likewise offers a comprehensive assistance package through a convergence of services from local government units, national government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and Technical education and Skills Development Authority and others.
The tinawon variety, which is sold at P50.00 a kilo,is a high value crop which is grown in high elevation terraced areas of Ifugao. It is called tinawon because it is only harvested once a year. This medium sized rice grain, ranging in color from white to red requires a six to eight month growth period and therefore can only be harvest once a year.
“Tinawon is the original rice variety planted by the Ifugao ancestors in the terraces,” Carbonel said. Various tinawon rice varieties are now being planted in the terraces like imbuh-ukan and Dona-al of Hingyon and Banaue, Madduli and botnol of Kiangan, Asipulo and Tinoc, Minaangan of Hungduan and injumachaw of Mayoyao.
Carbonel added that the said variety had been planted for generations without the aid of pesticides or any synthetic fertilizer and found very nutritious with high thiamine content and fiber.
“The development of tinawon rice as an industry would help farmers sustain their present agri-business employment and further create job opportunities and also boost eco-tourism,” Carbonel said.
Meanwhile, Provincial Agriculture Officer Raymond Bahatan disclosed that the 8th Wonder Inc. of Montana USA is closely coordinating with the local government unit to tap Ifugao farmers to produce more “tinawon” rice to be exported abroad.
He said the 8th Wonder became interested in helping the farmers here when it came across the internet regarding the present state of the rice terraces. “When Mary Hensley, the manager of the said business establishment learned that the rice terraces were abandoned by farmers due to meager production, she immediately contacted the provincial government and offered help to restore the terraces, he added.
Prior to the exportation of the tinawon abroad, the said variety is only for domestic consumption except for occasional selling of rice at the Banaue Hotel for tourists or exhibited during festivals.
Bahatan said that the reason why farmers abandoned their farms here is that the rice produced from the terraces is not enough for their whole year round rice consumption.
With 600 members, the Tinawon Growers will be able to meet the demands of the consumers here and abroad. The said variety will be sold at $10.00 a kilo, Bahatan said.
With this development, the economic situation of our farmers will surely improve, he added. (PIA-Ifugao) [top]