On October 12 this month, premium rice from Cordillera mountain, famous of the beauteous rice terraces, will arrive in the United States, and will be making its way to grocery stores in California, United States in few days.
With the help of Eight Wonders Inc., a US-based non-government organization helping market Cordillera rice for export, the Rice Terraces Farmers Cooperative (RTFC), put together 15 metric tons of organic heirloom rice harvested by indigenous rice farmers , and shipped them out at the Manila International Container Terminal last September 21 bound for US.
The shipment was composed of 10 tons of mina-angan rice from Banaue and hungduan rice from Ifugao; while the remaining 5 tons are composed of “ulikan” rice from Pasil and Lubuagan, both municipalities in the province of Kalinga.
“These grains represent the best in the Cordilleras, notably the industry and ingenuity of its people, as they are organically grown, and manually harvested and pounded to perfection,” said Marilyn Sta Catalina, director of the DA’s regional office in CAR.
Agriculture Secretary, Proceso Alcala said that the shipment of Cordillera heirloom rice is a milestone in government’s effort to expand markets of premium varieties.
Targeted to be an annual export, the 15 metric tons is just the initial shipment for US. Another 12.6 metric tons will soon be shipped to the said country after it has undergone organic fumigation at a Philippine Rice Institute laboratory in Nueva Ecija, as required by US sanitary and phytosanitary regulations.
The rice was sourced from 272 farmers Kalinga, Ifugao and Banaue.
To date, 97 tons of heirloom rice has been shipped to the US including the “Mountain Violet” variety from Mountain Province, Kalinga’s “unikan” red grains and Ifugao’s “tinawon” and “diket.”
Apart from export to US, brown and white rice products of SL Agritech Corp. under the brand names Doña Maria Jasponica and Miponica will soon be sold various branches of Carrefour supermarket in Dubai and Los Angeles soon.