Growing millet to fight water shortages

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On March 2, Pastor Dai Ming-xiong (戴明雄) – known as Sakinu.Tepiq in the Paiwan language – arrived in Taitung’s Lalaulan Village (拉勞蘭部落) with a special gift of millet and Taiwanese quinoa for indigenous farmers at CSA in Qianjia Community. While at the village, Pastor Dai carried out the rarely seen Millet Planting Ceremony.

Located inside the irrigation district between Hsinchu’s Toucian River (頭前溪) and Fongshan River (鳳山溪), Qianjia Community is included in the government’s phase-one water rationing policy, where a temporary ban on paddy field irrigation has been put in place. Complying with government restrictions and halting irrigation, the indigenous people who rent farmland in the area have been actively searching for suitable drought resistant crops that will allow them to continue farming.

With a higher nutritional value than that of white rice, and possibly the most suitable cereal grains for Taiwanese people, millet and Taiwanese quinoa, two traditional native crops of the island’s indigenous people, have evolved over time into two of the most suitable crops for Taiwan’s climate and soil conditions. Acting as go-between for the two parties, social movement documentary filmmaker Lin Rui-zhu (林瑞珠) has helped bring about a new dawn of millet growing for the indigenous people of Qianjia Community.

Liu Meiling (劉美玲) from the Tayal tribe said that for indigenous people, the year starts with the Millet Planting Ceremony. The Tayal people prepare to sow millet with the onset of cherry blossoms each year, usually coinciding with the spring planting season that follows Chinese New Year. Held prior to the sowing of millet, the Millet Planting Ceremony not only pays respect to tribe’s ancestral spirits, but also prays for a good harvest and asks that the tribe be provided for throughout the year.

Indigenous people have always lived in harmony with nature, so in this time of water shortage, reviving the cultivation of the traditional drought resistant millet crop seems to be the best way of ensuring that the traditional indigenous planting culture remains alive for generations to come.  

 

Growing millet to fight water shortages 

URL:https://www.peopo.org/news/269367 

(以下是中文對照)

抗水荒 種小米

3月2日,台東拉勞蘭部落的戴明雄牧師(排灣族名Sakinu.Tepiq),特地送來小米與紅藜種子,致贈給新竹千甲聚落 CSA 農場的原住民農友,同時舉辦難得一見的小米播種祭。

新竹千甲地區位於今年一期稻作停灌休耕的新竹頭前溪與鳳山溪流域灌區之內,部分農田配合休耕政策,當地租地耕作的原住民朋友配合停灌,積極尋求合適的旱作來持續耕作,原住民傳統作物的小米及紅藜乃台灣原生種農作物,已經演化成最適合且生長期間對台灣土地最友善的作物,營養價值又比白米高,可為最適合台灣人的穀物,在社運紀錄片導演林瑞珠的穿針引線下,讓原住民在千甲地區推動小米復耕露出曙光。

泰雅族人劉美玲表示,原住民一年的序幕就是由小米播種祭揭開的,泰雅族每年櫻花開的時候就要準備小米播種,大約就在漢人農曆年後的春耕季節,在播種之前就會舉辦小米播種祭,以敬天敬地並向祖靈祈求豐收,讓族人溫飽健康。原住民向來順應自然,在此水荒之時,回復原住民傳統種植旱作小米,便是延續原住民傳統種植文化最佳方式。

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