Ifugao exports 2.5 tons of 'Tinawon' rice
by Vency Bulayungan
LAGAWE, Ifugao (9 October) -- A total of 2.5 tons of tinawon rice (Ifugao native rice) was exported recently to the United States (US).
Raymond Bahatan, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PAENRO), said this was an output of a close coordination with a foreign investor, the 8th Wonder Inc. of Montana, USA.
In the US, the products are labeled tinawon fancy (colored) and tinawon white and sold at $10 a kilo, he informed. RICE, Inc. coordinated the shipping of the tinawon rice. said.
The 8th Wonder, Inc became interested in helping the Ifugao farmers export the native rice when it came across the internet regarding the plight of the rice terraces", Bahatan said.
"When Mary Hensley, the manager of the 8th Wonder Inc. learned that most of the rice terraces were abandoned by farmers due to meager production, she immediately contacted the provincial government to offer help in order to restore the terraces, Bahatan disclosed.
This was followed by series of meetings and organization of farmers from the municipalities of Banaue, Hingyon, Hungduan, Kiangan and Mayoyao.
Early this year, Revitalized Indigenous Cordillera Entrepreneurs Inc. (RICE, Inc), a Philippine based institution located at Cavite and a partner of the 8th Wonder, Inc. launched in Banaue a project dubbed Tinawon Rice Production and Marketing.
According to the PAENRO, the organization named Tinawon Growers, was able to export initially 700 kilos of the said rice last year. The 8th Wonder Inc. bought it at P50.00 per kilo, he said.
Based on the first shipment, the specie of the "imbuukan", a rice variety from the municipality of Hingyon was easily sold. The imbuukan is one among the more than 80 species here. It has an awn and the color of the grain is brown-red.
With its 600 members, the Tinawon Growers targeted to export 5 tons this year. "I hope they will be able to produce the other 2.5 before the year ends", Bahatan said.
He noted that the said project which is also the One Town One Product (OTOP) of the municipalities of Banaue and Hingyon helped in a way the farmers here to go back to the traditional way of farming and learned to value once again the rice terraces.
Since the tinawon rice is harvested on a yearly basis only, Bahatan is looking forward that the buying price should be increased to at least P100.00/kilo to boost the economic condition of the farmers. The planting season is November and harvested in June-July.
It has been noted by the PAENRO that there are massive migration of farmers to nearby provinces of Nueva Viscaya and Isabela to seek greener pasture because their produce is not enough for the consumption of their families especially those with big families. (PIA-Ifugao) [top]