Change of lRT land utilization leads to decline of rice production

In a study conducted by Jonathan T. Wacoy, a former trainee of the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program in 2017, it was found that the change in land utilization in the rice terraced ponds at the Tamangan Rice Terraces Cluster in Poblacion, Hungduan, Ifugao resulted to the decline of production of heirloom rice.  

The study noted that change in the land utilization at Tamangan rice terraces landscape represents an interplay of direct (bio-physical) and indirect (socio-economic-cultural) factors. It further highlighted that the change of land utilization undermines the integrity of the entire rice terraced landscape.  

The direct factors for this include the destroyed irrigation system, insufficient water supply for rice production, availability and accessibility of commercial rice in the market, accessibility of the site from the road network/FMR and the pervading low yield of the traditional rice variety.  

On the other hand, the indirect factors include the following: intense labor and the longer span of time required for traditional rice production, lack of manpower for rice cultivation and the low income derived from such endeavor.  

With the change of land utilization, the research also found out that non-rice crops are cultivated at the Tamangan Rice Terraces. These crops include: cabbage, tomato, sweet pepper, beans, cauliflower and potatoes. Furthermore, the introduction of vegetable farms could possibly facilitate the use of chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides that would further exacerbate the fragmentation and pollution of the ecosystem.  

The researcher, Jonathan T. Wacoy is currently the Municipal Agriculture Offi  cer of the Local Government of Hungduan. His mentor was Dr. Romeo A. Gomez, Jr., Dean of Graduate Studies, Benguet State University.#

-Judy C. Baggo