What's happening at IRRI
Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 10:00am - 11:00am
Measuring Change in an Evolving Landscape: Development of Community
Based-Indicators for the IRRI-DA-PhilRice Heirloom Rice Project
in Ifugao and Mountain Province, Philippines
Masters in Environmental Management 2016 Candidate
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Abstract: The Cordillera Rice Terraces of the northern Philippines, managed for generations by indigenous communities, face numerous forces that have transformed the landscape and terrace rice production. Today, farmers cope with a host of stressors including pests and disease, degraded infrastructures, terrace damage, and reduced availability of human labor. The IRRI-DA-PhilRice Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) launched in 2014 with the intent to characterize and conserve heirloom rice varieties, improve farmer organizational capacity and entrepreneurship, and develop markets for these distinct rice varieties. This current study conducted semi-structured interviews with project staff, partners, and heirloom rice farmers in two sites—Hungduan, Ifugao and Barlig, Mountain Province—to determine how HRP participants perceived the social, cultural, economic, and environmental functions of heirloom rice. A set of indicators was derived from these interviews and validated via a participatory Community-Based Indicator workshop. Target beneficiaries (heirloom rice farmers) scored 53 indicators on 3 criteria as well as for overall usefulness. These scores reveal indicators of change in rice production most relevant to the farmers that can be incorporated in participatory monitoring and evaluation systems for the Heirloom Rice Project. This study suggests that rural Cordillera communities like Hapao and Barlig are undergoing significant changes that influence 1) the socio-cultural, economic, and environmental roles of native rice varieties in these communities and 2) farmer receptivity to interventions like the Heirloom Rice Project.
SSD Conference Rm, Drilon Hall