CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)--Seeking ways to address the region's high incidence of malnutrition, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is now working on the Golden Rice deployment in Lanao del Norte.
"Diri sa Region 10, napili nato ang Lanao del Norte nga kauna-unahan nga mag-identify og farmer cooperative nga magtanom aning Golden Rice and eventually ang iyang produce ato pud i-distribute sa mga household nga naa'y incident sa malnutrition, particularly vitamin A deficiency," says Dr. Ronan Zagado, program leader of Golden Rice-Project Management Office, Department of Agriculture (DA)-PhilRice.
(Here in Region 10, the department chose Lanao del Norte as the first province to identify a farmer cooperative that will plant the Golden Rice and eventually distribute their produce to households with malnutrition incidence, particularly vitamin A deficiency)
Golden Rice is a type of rice that contains beta carotene, and when people eat food that contains beta carotene, it is then converted to vitamin A as needed by the body, Zagado said. About one cup of Golden Rice may provide up to 30-50% of the vitamin A needs of preschool age children and pregnant or lactating mothers.
The rice was developed using genetic modification, with genes from corn and a common soil microorganism, which produce beta carotene in the rice grain. "Kaning beta carotene dili ta mahadlok kay ato na ning gina-consume like kangkong, malunggay," Zagado said.
(We should not worry on this beta carotene because we are already consuming it like the water spinach, horseradish)
Golden Rice is expected to cost and taste the same as regular rice; the only difference it has from regular rice is its beta carotene content, which makes the Golden Rice a valuable asset in the battle against vitamin A deficiency.
"Fortunately, we are the first in the world nga nag-release og Golden Rice nga naa'y nutritional value. Maayo kini nga balita sa atong mga farmers because I know nga atong mga farmers, bisan kita nga mga consumers gusto ta og rice, kay atong problema sa rice kay grabe ang carbs, so kami sa PhilRice ang focus sa among research pud is to make rice healthier and the Golden Rice is one of the products," Zagado said.
(who released Golden Rice with nutritional value. This is good news to our farmers because I know the farmers, even our consumers, have problems with the carbohydrate content of the rice. So, we in PhilRice focused our research to make rice healthier)
The biosafety permit for the commercial propagation of Golden Rice was already obtained, July 2021. With this, DA-PhilRice is now bringing the said rice to farmers through seed production. The seeds will then be given for free to Lanao del Norte, as part of the pilot scale deployment. (RTP/PIA-10)