Heirloom rice, a special type of rice inherently unique in its natural features and eating quality, was featured in Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM), held at the SMX Convention Center in Metro Manila on 24-26 April 2015.
“Heirloom rice is in high demand in the export market and is now being promoted locally as an important and exceptional ingredient in Filipino cuisine,” said Casiana Vera Cruz, project leader of the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP). “More importantly, it is grown by farmers in highland communities, mostly in marginal environments.”
The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is funding the HRP—as part of its bigger efforts to provide holistic support to increasing rice productivity in the Philippines—to help heirloom rice farmers harvest more while making sure that the traditions attached to the production of these special rice varieties is preserved.
Studies have shown that heirloom rice has high nutritional value compared with common rice varieties. HRP also seeks to secure a geographical indication, or GI, tag for Philippine heirloom rice.
Some 20 heirloom rice varieties from four provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)–Kalinga, Benguet, Mountain Province, and Ifugao–were showcased in an exhibit as well as in the food tasting and ‘food tunnel’ sessions of the event.
In the food tasting session, varieties ominio, ingud-pur, minaangan, kalinga jekot, and tinawon were introduced and served to restaurateurs and food enthusiasts. These varieties were transformed into culinary specialities by renowned Filipino chefs Amy Besa, Robby Goco, and Jessie Sincioco in dishes served during the food tunnel sessions.
The HRP is being implemented by DA-CAR regional office, the International Rice Research Institute, and the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute.
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