Heirloom rice ice cream, anyone?

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Heirloom rice, aside from being cooked as kanin or rice, serves as a main ingredient in many local rice-based delicacies in the country, particularly in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Whenever we visit assisted farmers’ groups and communities in the region, they do not fail to showcase their authentic local delicacies or kakanin such as the inandila/dila-dila in Kalinga, patopat and linapet in Mountain Province, suman and diket in Benguet, among others. Pairing it with freshly brewed coffee adds to its savoury taste and the memorable experience.
But have you ever thought that it can be used for ice cream as well?
Nica Magdalena Tuguinay of Lagawe, Ifugao has chosen to venture into the production of heirloom rice ice cream. This is her winning business model canvass and became a provincial awardee together with 55 more provincial winners in the ongoing FY 2022 National Young Farmers Challenge (YFC). As a winner, Tuguinay received a Php50, 000.00 grant which she will utilize in her chosen enterprise as she vies for the regional level award.
In an interview, Tuguinay shared that she has chosen heirloom rice ice cream due to the low consumption of heirloom rice in their locality. Accordingly, these are more sold as export and as pasalubong of tourists. While there are already heirloom rice by-products like cookies and biscuits locally, she noted that they have yet to venture into ice cream.
‘’Yung ice cream po kasi, pwedeng pang snacks lalo na para sa mga bata dahil mahilig po sila doon.’ (The ice cream is suitable for snacks or deserts especially the kids who are fond of it)” Tuguinay remarked.
These situations gave her the idea to innovate and come up with an ice cream with heirloom rice as the base ingredient. They have been into local ice cream production so her expertise in this field was very helpful in realizing her chosen enterprise. Accordingly, the heirloom rice will be used as substitute to starch which is the main ingredient in their ice cream production. Tuguinay added that it would be more nutritious and helpful also for the heirloom rice farmers in their community.
Heirloom rice is known to possess higher amount of nutrients like zinc and iron including antioxidants which fight free radicals in the body. Various researches on heirloom rice nutrient analyses also showed that the darker the color/pigment, the more nutrients it has.
Tuguinay is hopeful that with the DA grant, she will be able to develop her chosen enterprise not only for her own benefit but to provide another possible marketing direction of heirloom rice being produced in the locality. During the interview, she also shared that a primary school in their locality has ordered heirloom rice ice cream for their feeding program. The school, accordingly, found out that Tuguinay is currently developing the said ice cream and the former wanted to try it for their school activity. It was her first order and so far she is grateful because more than the payment, the school’s evaluation of her product would help her further improve it.
With this, she thanked the DA for these kinds of interventions that are directed to young farmers like her, boosting their agri-entrepreneurial skills that are helpful in the continuing growth of the agriculture sector in general.**JBAgrifino


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