Dr. John de Leon (L), DA-PhilRice executive director, leads the sharing of the country’s experiences in the development and deployment of Golden Rice, to the Bangladesh delegation headed by Hon. Tanvir Shakil Joy (4th from R).

A parliament member of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was impressed by the field performance of Golden Rice during his Sept. 30 visit to the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) Central Experiment Station in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Hon. Tanvir Shakil Joy, remarked on the good stand of Golden Rice or NSIC 2022 Rc 682 GR2E (Malusog-1) and on its potential as an additional intervention to address VAD. Its characteristics are also similar with its background variety, PSB Rc 82, which has an average yield of 5.4t/ha and maximum yield of 12t/ha except that it is partially awned and has angled leaves.  It matures in 122 days after sowing and is resistant against blast.

With Golden Rice being under regulatory review in Bangladesh, DA-PhilRice officials shared the project’s best practices in navigating the country’s rigorous regulatory system, which resulted in the approval of the biosafety permits for field trial,  food, feed and for processing, and commercial propagation. The country’s experience on pilot-scale deployment was also presented.

On deployment, Golden Rice Project lead Ronan Zagado, emphasized that priority provinces were identified based on national nutrition data and rice productivity.

Currently, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Quirino, Cagayan, Catanduanes, Samar, Antique, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Maguindanao are considered for cultivation and milled rice distribution. A multi-year plan is being developed to scale-up the production and distribution of Golden Rice to cover more areas.

Initial farm-level cultivation of Golden Rice in the Philippines commenced this 2022 wet cropping season at approximately 40ha across 10 regions. Harvesting has started in October with an estimated average yield of 5.2t/ha.

Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik, Bangladesh’s additional secretary for the Ministry of Environment also joined the visit.

Martijn Pakker, senior manager for communication, stakeholder engagement and advocacy at the International Rice Research Institute; Azizur Anik, communication specialist for the Healthier Rice Program at the IRRI Bangladesh Office; and DA-PhilRice officials led by Dr. John de Leon welcomed the delegation.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute