Thursday, June 18, 2015

Philippines: Heirloom rice awes foodies at BellySima

The unique culinary features of heirloom rice varieties from the Cordilleras were featured at the BellySima Food Festival as part of the market outreach of the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) that is jointly implemented by the Department of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute. BellySima Food Festival 2015, held at the Glorietta 3, Makati, City on 12-13 June 2015, features and promotes healthy Filipino food options and experiences among consumers and entrepreneurs.

Heirloom rice was included in the Top 10 People's Choice among 40 participants to the festival. Event organizer RJ Ledesma of the Mercato Group expressed appreciation of the participation of HRP. "It is worth celebrating that more people know of these fantastic rice varieties in the country," Ledesma said.

At the festival, heirloom rice Ominio from the Mountain Provinces and the Tinawon rice from Ifugao, along with other heirloom varieties from Benguet and Kalinga were cooked and sampled by food enthusiasts. All these rice varieties were grown by highland farmers with the Rice Terraces Farmers Cooperative (RTFC), one of the implementing partners of HRP.

HRP is working toward increasing productivity of heirloom rice, which takes 6–7 months to mature and are thus grown only once a year. By linking heirloom rice to potential export and domestic markets, farmers are able to sustain their livelihoods,  the cultural prize of which is that the rice terraces that the region is famous for are preserved.

The HRP is a shared collaboration between the DA-Philrice, DA-Cordillera Administrative Region field office, local state colleges and universities, and IRRI.

The Bellysima Food Festival is a regular event at Glorietta 5 beginning 19 June 2015.

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