• ‘Rice-sponsible’ can help food security goals

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    While the Aquino administration sees the Philippines achieving record palay (unmilled rice) production this year, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is asking Filipinos to be “rice-sponsible” which can help the country achieve 100-percent self-sufficiency in the staple.

    With the year 2013 dubbed as the “National Year of the Rice (NYR) through Presidential Proclamation No. 494,” the Department of Agriculture also plans to tap lawmakers to enact, formulate and issue policies and laws for wiser rice consumption.

    The NYR aims to “get the attention of policy makers” to enact laws in rice conservation, like serving of half-cup rice at eateries and canteens, serving of brown rice, or pinawa, and restrictions on offering unlimited rice to restaurants or eat-all-you-can.”

    According to Emerson Palad, undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture (DA), the NYR is pushing for Filipinos to be “rice-sponsible.”

    “We already have a lot of partners in pushing the Philippines to be ‘rice-sponsible.’ The NYR also aims to reduce post-harvest costs [on rice production], and consumer loss, which describes to rice wastage in private establishments like restaurants and eateries,” Palad said.

    According to PhilRice data, Filipinos waste an average of 2.5 tablespoons of rice daily, which result in a total of P6.2-billion rice thrown away every year. This is enough to feed 2.6 million Filipinos every year.

    “The estimate that P6.2 billion of rice is wasted every year should be enough to make the public adopt more responsible rice eating habits,” said Hazel Antonio, NYR campaign director.

    The NYR, through the DA’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP), promote mixing rice with other staples like kamote (sweet potato), banana, cassava, corn and gabi (taro) as well as brown rice consumption to also to improve the health of Filipinos.

    The NYR campaign advertisements will be shown on GMA station and various radio stations, and at train stations, to intensify the campaign.

    The rice exhibit for NYR was launched on Tuesday in the Mind Museum in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, which shows the program’s advocacies.

    Kristyn Nika M. Lazo

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