Philrice urges consumers to help Phl on rice self-sufficiency bid

IN celebration of National Rice Awareness Month this November, the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will lead the rice sector in renewing its commitment to help the country become rice self-sufficient next year.

With the theme, Sapat na Bigas, Kaya ng Pinas!, the month-long celebration aims to create awareness on how consumers could support the country’s goal.

The commitment, to be renewed through a pledge for rice, entails the consumers to try equally nutritious foods such as white corn, sweet potato, cassava, and banana as substitutes for rice.

Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, PhilRice socio-economist and spokesperson of the 2011-2016 Food Staples Self-Sufficiency Program said countries like Japan and China are rice-sufficient despite their small rice area harvested per capita because of the citizen’s diversified diet.

Consumers are also encouraged to eat unpolished or brown rice as it has higher milling recovery rate of 75 percent compared with 65 percent for white rice. According to experts, higher milling recovery means that a 100 kg of palay produces 75 kg of brown rice compared with 65 kg of white rice.

Brown rice is also promoted as it is more nutritious than white rice. Nutritionists said brown rice retains most of the nutrients from the rice bran that are removed by polishing.

Pledgers will also commit themselves not to waste rice by cooking what they and their family can eat, recycling leftover rice into other dishes, ordering rice that they can only consume, and properly cooking rice – not over or undercooked.

Data on rice wastage show that that each Filipino wastes 2 tablespoons of cooked rice every day, which, when not wasted, could result in import savings as high as P6.2 billion and could feed 2.6 million hungry Filipinos in a year.

Pledgers for rice are expected to keep their oath for “with the rice [they] save, [they] save lives.”

November is celebrated annually as National Rice Awareness Month in the Philippines in pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 524 issued in 2003.

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