Negotiating the Role of Heirloom Rice in Food Security: Narratives of the Contested Views of the Ifugaos in the Philippines

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sherry MARASIGAN, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines
Joane SERRANO, UP Open University, Philippines
The Philippine Ifugao communities, for many years, were admired for its sustainable agricultural practices. Its Rice Terraces was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1996. However, in 2001 it was put under the World Heritage Committee’s danger list because of its degraded conditions caused by various factors including exploitation of natural resources and abandonment of rice terraces. Rehabilitation efforts have been done by various sectors to restore its condition as well as address the food requirements of a growing population in Ifugao. Concepcion, Samar and Collado (2010) noted that the increasing demand for food security has created scenario that even the World Heritage Site like the Ifugao Rice Terraces are explored to support the food security programs of the country.  They further added that these shifts in the use of the Ifugao Rice Terraces encouraged farmers to abandon traditional rice farming practices and shift to modern farming, which consequently results to degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. This paper critically examines the contested views of the Ifugaos on the role of traditional rice or heirloom rice in food security. It tries to surface how programs run by the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) addressing food security and rural poverty affects the indigenous knowledge and culture of the Ifugaos that is believed to revolve around or are deeply anchored on rice farming.  Views and reflections of the Ifugaos and other stakeholders were analyzed using thematic analysis. Programs on food security and other poverty alleviation programs were documented and analyzed. Results of this study will provide a critical understanding of how to negotiate the contested views of the Ifugaos and provide the various sectors including the government and NGOs knowledge on how to critically analyze past and existing food security programs.