Katepaay red glutinous rice, an agricultural and cultural product
The Amis is the largest of Taiwan's officially recognized tribes, with a total population of around 140,000, and the Taibalang (Tafalong) Community is one of the largest Amis communities, with a population of several thousand. It is also one of the oldest, able to trace its history back at least 1,000 years. Thus, this is a place where Amis culture has been well preserved. Today, it possesses a cultural park and a tribal school for passing on Amis traditions to tourists and its youth, respectively. In recent years, the Taibalang Elementary School has become well known for its excellent woodcarving program. One of this community's primary educators has spent a lifetime collecting Amis cultural artifacts and creating models of traditional Amis structures.
In addition to their cultural, educational and artistic pursuits, many of the residents of the Tafalong Community spend their time farming. A very unique crop, red glutinous rice, called Katepaay in the Amis language, has been grown here for a very time. This is the only place it is cultivated in Taiwan, making it both economically and culturally valuable.
How was it that the past generations of Amis were able to develop this crop? To better understand this, it is necessary to visit this community and speak with its elders. What is known is that the elders have successfully preserved this precious heritage, even in the face of difficulties. Thus, today, red glutinous rice is a delicacy. Visitors can enjoy unique dishes that incorporate red glutinous rice and that are inspired by traditional indigenous cuisine in the community's restaurant. Now, it is up to the young people of this community to return home and take up the responsibility of carrying on the red glutinous rice growing traditions. Many of them are willing to take up this challenge, which is very encouraging.
The red glutinous rice grown by the Amis residents of this community is organic and marketed under the community's own brand name to ensure consistent, good quality. With the return of the young people and their efforts, it is expected that there will be sustainable success of this all important crop and cultural product.
Hualien County Guangfu Township Tafalong Community Development Association
22, Fuai Street, Nanfu Village, Guangfu Township, Hualien County
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