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PIA Press Release

Unoy farmers warned on slash-and-burn practice

by L. Lopez

Tabuk City, Kalinga (15 February) -- Because of the enticing price of Unoy rice in the local and international markets today, authorities are wary that Unoy farmers might expand their planting area and fear of massive slash and burn practices.

Provincial Agriculturist Gerry Jose said that while 'we encourage Unoy production among our upland farmers, we at the same time educate them on the damaging effects of abusing our forests that could cause bigger sufferings than profits'.

Jose explained to Unoy farmers during an inter-agency meeting last week how massive slash and burn practice could lead to soil erosion, mud flow and further destruction to lives and properties.

He cited other areas in the country where uncontrolled upland farming has destroyed water shed reservations and resulted to greater problem on the people.

In Kalinga, most of the rice lands devoted to Unoy production are in the upland and the tendency of expanding it through denudation is not far.

As measures, Jose introduced the concept of selective farming sites, exempting identified water shed and wild life areas from farming.

He also advocated "cycle farming", where planting of Unoy rice is alternated with other crops to prevent loosing of the soil.

Other preventions were listed like the growing of tiger grass along the perimeters of the Unoy field to provide something to hold the soil from eroding.

The group proposed to the Department of Agriculture the production of Unoy rice seed that is adaptable to lowland farming, so as not to touch the uplands while production is enhanced.

Unoy farmers just haggled last week for higher price from P50/kilo to P80/kilo with the Revitalized Indigenous Cordillera Entrepreneur (RICE) Inc., the NGO buying their produce and brings it to Montana, USA. (PIA Kalinga) [top]

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