This episode opens with the stunning 2000-year-old Ifugao rice terraces, which is a UNESCO world heritage site that has enthralled anthropologists, explorers and visitors. But for all its beauty, the Ifugao is being deserted by its inhabitants due to rural poverty.
Many farmers complain that rice farming is a poverty trap, with farm plots too small to produce enough for sale, and inputs too expensive, pushing farmers into debt. Climate change has also wreaked havoc here, with droughts and typhoons damaging harvests year after year.
Can the Philippines, the world’s largest rice importer, overhaul its rice farming system with new technologies? Will local NGOs manage to preserve the beauty of the UNESCO-listed rice terraces? Impact speaks to scientists, farmers, officials and development workers to analyze the complex issues and to bring you the politics, drama and emotion surrounding Asia’s staple crop – the humble grain of rice.