Bario rice is a local product cultivated by hand with no pesticides or herbicides and represents a valuable ecological niche. The Kelabit tribe, who live solely in the highlands, grow the Presidium rice. The majority of Malaysians are unaware of the difference that exists between real Bario rice and cheaper, lesser quality rice that uses the same name. The Presidium has been developed to assist local growers by promoting the product on the Malaysian market through information campaigns, dinners and predominantly local events. The Bario Rice has now been registered as product of Geographical Indication (GI) with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Organization (MyIPO).Bario Rice (padi adan) originated in the Kelabit Highlands, also known as Bareo, in northeast Sarawak, Malaysia. Located at an altitude of 1,100 meters, temperatures during the day remain cool, ranging from 19-22 degrees Celsius, which is unusual for growing rice. The local Kelabit tribe is one of the smallest ethnic groups in Sarawak, numbering less than 5,000, and has its own language. Like many other indigenous communities some of the Kelabits live in longhouses but many live in stand alone houses as well. They grow some vegetables, for example cabbages, and also gather fresh meat and vegetables from the jungle. In Sarawak each family cultivates one-to-two hectares of rice by hand, much of it for their own consumption. The fields are sown in July and the rice harvested in January. Bario Rice takes about six months to mature and only one crop can be planted per year. The Kelabit tribe has brought water to even the most remote fields through an intricate system of bamboo pipes. During the fallow period the buffalo live in the fields where they eat the weeds and fertilize the soil. The buffaloes are also used to plough the fields and transport goods.Malaysian farmers celebrate the sowing and the transplanting of rice plants with holy ceremonies. These include celebrations for the preparation of the soil, where the villagers gather together and sing. Bario Rice is a medium grain rice, marble white in color. This variety is famous for its excellent sweet taste and slightly sticky texture, and is a favorite among Malaysian chefs that use it to prepare traditional recipes. Bario rice is not suitable for making risotto and salads, but it is the ideal ingredient for puddings and sweet cakes.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.