EDIBLE WILD FOOD PLANTS IN IFUGAO, PHILIPPINES: POTENTIAL FOR FOOD SECURITY
The study's objective was to document the edible wild food plants in Ifugao, Philippines, and their potential to combat food insecurity. The study used qualitative and quantitative data collected with a structured and semi-structured questionnaire through informal and formal interviews, field visits, and field data collection with free listings, participatory observations, individual discussions, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct observations, and photo documentation. Data on the indigenous knowledge and ethno botanical characteristics of the wild edible plants (WEPs) showed a total of 110 WEPs species belonging to three classes, 35 orders, and 46 families, mainly herbs, trees, and shrubs. The majority (69.09%) of the plant species had perennial life cycles found in multiple growth locations and having several edible parts. Most WEPs had diverse additional uses, and most were considered medicines. WEPs are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibers essential to maintain good health. The climate was under the Type I classification by Corona's system, with a short dry season and a pronounced wet season. The average annual rainfall was 2500-3600mm. The typhoon frequency was 2-2.5 times per year. The two municipalities had fertile and arable lands, diverse fauna and flora, forests, rivers, and springs. All (100%) the species collected were from their natural habitats meant for food. Only 42.73% of the WEPS had a market value, and 37.27% of the WEPs were domesticated. Three hundred pesos (PhP 300.00) was the average monthly income from selling WEPs. Data on WEPs and gender roles in upland farm households showed that the primary uses of the wild edible plants in the upland farm households were for food and income. Most (98.16) respondents revealed that the women were responsible for finding, collecting, utilizing, and cooking the WEPs. The people responsible for transferring the edibility of the WEPs were their grandparents (75.00%) and their mothers (23.00%).
wild foods; food security; indigenous foods; upland farm households; natural habitat; indigenous knowledge; gender roles