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PBBM supports value-added nutrition in rice, agri development

BY RAYMUND ANTONIO

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has the full support of President Marcos in developing varieties of rice, corn, potatoes, and other agricultural products with additional nutritional values.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. during the courtesy call of Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) officials.

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) stated that the IRRI is in the process of developing rice varieties and other agricultural products, such as corn, potatoes, chicken, and vegetables that have additional nutritional components—protein, vitamin A, iron, and zinc, among others.

“It’s no longer just food sufficiency. There should be nutritional value given to the people. There’s very much that we could learn from (you). IRRI has been actually continuing the research and development and when we went I could see some of their rice is made not for the Philippines alone, the varieties are going all over the world,” the Chief Executive said.

This happened during the recent courtesy call of officials of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and IRRI in Malacañang, where the President was told of the varieties of rice that IRRI is rolling out that would complement the nutritional requirement of every person.

One such variety is the low glycemic index (GI), protein-enriched rice that aims to boost the nutritional value requirements of Filipinos.

“It’s beyond (the issue of) food and rice in Asian countries. So, again, that just brings into very sharp focus how important (rice) is to us. But the other side of it is the nutrition side because of course, we cannot eat just rice. So, there has to be a source of vegetable, and protein. So that’s why we are now trying to find the [solution],” Marcos said.

When IRRI officials offered to develop more varieties of rice and other agricultural produce for local consumption, the President stressed that “we can make use of that because those are the kinds of things that we need.”

During the courtesy call, CGIAR Executive Managing Director Dr. Ismahane Elouafi expressed her organization’s desire to work with the Philippine government in producing different varieties of agricultural products.

“In IRRI we have lot of new technologies and better productivity and nutrition. We have the same in other commodities. Now we have iron-rich potatoes. If you eat the potatoes, it give you about 50 percent of iron that you need per day. And anemia problem is a huge problem in the world particularly in women and kids,” she said.

“We have same thing in maize (corn). We have the high protein, Vitamin A in rice, in maize, we have beans with iron and zinc both of them.”

CGIAR is a global network of 15 research centers that generate and disseminate knowledge, technologies, and policies for agricultural development through close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.

IRRI, on the other hand, was established during the time of Marcos’ father, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, and is placed under CGIAR.

Elouafi was accompanied by IRRI officials—Dr. Cao Duc Phat, chairperson of the Board of Trustees; Dr. Ajay Kohil, interim director; and Joanna Kane Potaka, deputy director general for strategy, engagement, and impact.

In the meeting, the President also mentioned how the project can contribute to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Food Stamp Program because it aims not only to provide food to the poorest families, but also ensure that they have access to nutritious food.

He expressed hope that the food stamp program can also be a part of IRRI’s plans.

“If you take six units of carbohydrates, you cannot take anymore. you have to take also protein and you have to take also legumes and vegetable so that it is balanced, especially to children. It’s very important. I hope it can be part in this (IRRI) program,” he said.

The “Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program” is a flagship program of the Marcos administration. It provides low-income households monetary-based assistance through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that can be used in purchasing select food commodities from eligible partner merchant stores.

https://mb.com.ph/2024/2/23/pbbm-backs-value-added-nutrition-in-rice-agri-development QR Code

Published Date: February 24, 2024

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