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Farmers' indigenous knowledge of sweetpotato production and utilization in the Cordillera Region

In the Cordillera region of the Philippines, located 250 kilometers north of Manila, sweetpotato is an important crop especially in areas where development is slow. This study is a documentation of farmers’ indigenous knowledge of sweetpotato production and utilization. A detailed description of the sweetpotato subsystem was obtained through Rapid Rural Appraisal and Participant Observation. Findings were presented in a dialogue-forum in an attempt to come up with research concerns or recommendations that can serve as springboards for follow-up actions or subsequent investigations. Most of the sweetpotato grown in the Cordillera uplands are for home consumption basically as a staple or supplement to rice. Production and utilization practices/ technologies among each ethnolinguistic tribe are almost similar. However, a difference lies on the local names and terms of these practices. Sweetpotato production and utilization practices are traditional, indigenous and site specific. Most of these practices are still existing to date. Sweetpotato is a woman’s crop. The study revealed that women know more about sweetpotato than men and this was validated by the participant observation. A dialogue-forum held to present research results to farmers was attended by 99% women. The rise of commercial farming with use of technology packages biased toward cash crop production has marginalized the crop. While there is evidence of sweetpotato commercialization in some areas of the Cordillera, this is not widely observed. Sweetpotato has minimal economic advantage compared with other cash crop even if the latter’s production proves more risky. It is a survival crop. The study recommends that before an attempt to invade the boundaries of the sweetpotato subsystem (e.g. increasing productivity) is done, it is best to elicit the farmers’ knowledge and perspective on the crop, and indispensable inputs in a program design aimed at finding solutions to problem and needs.

Authors: Rosana Mula, Rosana Mula

Contributors: Administrator, Administrator

Subjects: Crop Management

Pages: 50

Publisher: User’s perspective with agricultural research and development (UPWARD)

Publication Date: 1992

Identifier: ISBN 971-614-004-5

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, Philippine


Mula, R.P. 1992. Farmer’s indigenous knowledge of sweetpotato production and utilization in the Philippine cordillera region. UPWARD working paper series No 1, 40 pp. Los Baños, Philippines.