Agri office to promote Adlai plant to locals

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing Adlai plant to become as alternative to rice and will promote it to locals.

Adlai also known as Job’s tears with a scientific name of Coix lacryma-jobi L. is a freely branching upright plant, which grows to three-feet tall and is being propagated through seeds.

DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) describes it nutritious and is related to rice, potentially a good alternative to rice and corn.


BAR aimed to document reports of other varieties of Adlai in Sagada town and piece together its possible origin, and perhaps introduce it to locals.

In Sagada, Mt. Province, farmers and other municipal agriculturist officers (MAOs) were intrigued by the BAR representatives’ reports and were most interested when presented with seed samples provided by Calabarzon region.

Evelyn Pulon, a local farmer, reported an individual by the name of Cesar Sawadan, from Malibcong, Abra, was the one who handed her two varieties of Adlai and encouraged them to try out the crop. She disclosed that one of the two varieties was, in fact, edible.

Pulon took the time to show the DA-BAR team the other variety, which grew in the wild akin to a weed.

She added most locals took its presence for granted as it grew mostly near abandoned rice fields, merely treating it as a source of materials for beads, curtains, trays and necklaces.

In Kiangan, after holding a presentation on DA-BAR’s efforts in promoting Adlai, the information proffered by the residents was that farmers and MAOs are aware of Adlai only as a weed, which grows by the waysides and creeks, often ignored unless intended to be used as accessories or playthings—much like the testimonies from Sagada.

Again, farmers were surprised when presented with the variety of Adlai, which is edible, more so when it was brought up the crop is considered to be a staple food, an alternative to rice and corn, by another region.

At the same time, the DA-BAR representatives asked the locals from both aforementioned areas to fill out questionnaires in trying to piece together a tangible history of Adlai in the Philippines.

Differing responses and stories were shared but the most common thread is the crop has been thriving in our land for as long as they can remember.

Treated as an accessory or as a toy, Jimmy Cabigat from Banaue shared they even resorted to selling necklaces made from Adlai back in the old days for P5 apiece.

Adlai is observed to be growing mostly in low-lying areas such as riverbanks, and seldom in upland areas.

Until now, what is mostly referred to as the “wild” variety of Adlai, has been the only kind the majority of Cordillerans know.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 04, 2011.

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