Sweetpotato Cultivars Grown by Ethnolinguistic Groups in Northern Philippines

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Dalen T. Meldoz Betty T. Gayao Grace S. Backian


Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) is a traditional crop among ethnolinguistic groups in Northern Philippines. Sweetpotato as supplemental food of the family has a big role in the food system and the overall culture of ethnolinguistic groups. The study was carried out in Northern Philippines to document and identify the sweetpotato cultivars grown by different ethnolinguistic groups in the area. Documentation was done in three phases which included secondary data gathering, key informant interview and workshops and field visits among 13 indigenous peoples including two major ethnic groups from the selected municipalities. There were 179 sweetpotato cultivars identified and grown by the ethnolinguistic groups-99 are traditional and 80 were introduced cultivars. Ninety-four of these are commonly planted and claimed as presently abundant and maintained in the area, hence, posing no danger of becoming extinct. Sixty-three cultivars grown 50 years ago are considered endangered or rarely planted by the ethnolinguistic groups. Twenty-two cultivars are considered locally extinct due to replacement of superior cultivars, preference of households such as early maturing but low yielding, long maturing varieties, yield degeneration due to pest and disease occurrence and poor culinary acceptability. However, using these as criteria in selecting their preferences led to the loss of late maturing or good characteristics of the crop.

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