INDIGENOUS PRACTICES IN AGRICULTURE

The Benguet Igorot is regarded as having a deep and intricate knowledge in agriculture that is fine-tuned with the seasons that annually beset his or her community.

Physical structures like irrigation canals and ditches, rice terraces and swiddens, woodlots and orchards, residential houses and granaries are evidences of a well-established society that possess a well rooted past of its varied methods of managing life-supporting resources at levels of sustainability.

Agriculture also requires optimum use of available resources that contribute to maximum crop yield. This include soil fertility enhancing material that is mostly found various organic waste that is found in farms – livestock manure, rice hay and other mineral enriching compounds. This practice of utilizing organic inputs for soil conditioning are inherent traits in the igorot agricultural system.

The constituents of Itogon’s agricultural community still practice resource management systems that were imbibed from their forebears. The wisdom of such practice of conservation may be surmised by a local belief that if one partakes of the yield from the first crop, you can never feel hungry, no matter how little the harvest maybe.

In the whole cropping cycle, (as for instance, the method of rice faming) requires the knowledge of preemptive control to ensure security of crops from potentially destructive agents.

In the whole rice cropping season, farmers also take good notice of the various onsets of avian migration and climatic events that make up the annual seasons.

The arrival of the killing brings the rainy season to its near end but nevertheless signal strong and heavy rains that usually grace the end of the tropical monsoon and the arrival of the northeastern cold front.

The arrival of the beshing necessitates installation of scarecrows and traps in the fields that already nearing harvest as the leaves yield into a robust golden display.

In the midseason, rice field dikes are well inspected and cleaned, (gaik) rows are weeded out (kamas) so that rats would not burrow along its dikes and weeds would not compete with the rice for the needed nutrition from the soil. The water level is controlled to keep the paddies from drying. These tedious task of tending falls onto the responsibilities of the rice farmer that sees his individual participation in his community as a duty more than a task. Community involvement in almost all the affairs of the individual member is a common occurrence. Communal participation in harvest through the kamal ensures that harvests are on time and cost -efficient as the farmer is required to only to feed the assisting party.

Kamal is instituted cooperative work that the community is obliged to fulfill inorder to avail of cheap cooperative assistance in most of the heavy tasks of production. Cooperative work is also an important aspect in local governance as most tasks in maintaining common communal structures and administrative territories as like forest areas, pastures and watersheds fall onto the individual duties of the constituents.

Physical structures like irrigation canals and ditches, rice terraces and swiddens, woodlots and orchards, residential houses and granaries are evidences of a well-established society that possess a well rooted past of its varied methods of managing life-supporting resources.

Cultural practices like the peshit, correlate periods of communal feasts and thanksgiving festivities with fortunate harvests or a generous surplus of livestock that can be butchered as sacrificial offering along with ceremonial wine for libation for the spirits of ancestors, the guardians of the forests, water and the animals; to Kabunian the creator…

Agriculture also requires optimum use of available resources that contribute to maximum crop yield. This include soil fertility enhancing material that is mostly found various organic waste that is found in farms – livestock manure, rice hay and other mineral enriching compounds. This practice of utilizing organic inputs for soil conditioning are inherent traits which is also present in the agricultural system of Itogon.