The Department of Agriculture (DA) heightened the annual celebration of National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) by establishing “BeRICEponsible” as a theme starting this year until 2028.
Under Proclamation No. 524, s. 2014, NRAM is held every November to raise public awareness on rice, tackle malnutrition and poverty, and achieve rice self-sufficiency. This year’s celebration will kick off on Nov. 3 at Liwasang Aurora, Quezon City Memorial Circle.
Dr. Hazel V. Antonio, senior science research specialist of DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute, said the six-year theme is a call for every Filipino to do their part to address rice-related issues by not wasting rice, eating brown rice, mixing rice with other healthy staples, and supporting local rice farmers by buying and consuming local produce.
The public is reminded to avoid wastage to help achieve rice security as the 2018 Household Food Consumption Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that 48g of the total 67g of food waste in a household are cereals and cereal products.
Meanwhile, consumption of brown or unpolished rice is encouraged as it has more fiber, minerals, and vitamins, particularly B vitamins, and has a lower glycemic index than white rice.
Rice produced by our local farmers must also be patronized to support their livelihood and motivate them to continue producing quality rice for the consumers.
This November, activities include displaying a series of exhibits for the public to appreciate more the country’s staple food and its producers, ceremonial harvesting at Luneta Park, and launching of the new “Panatang Makapalay” and advocacy jingle.
Exhibits will be hosted by the Eastwood Mall on Nov. 4-6 and by the DA Central Office from Nov. 14-18. Ceremonial rice harvesting at Luneta Park will be held on Nov. 11.
DA regional offices and PhilRice branch stations will also conduct NRAM activities in their areas of coverage.
Moreover, online activities include the NRAM filter contest from Nov. 3 to Nov. 20, Be RICEponsible Buyer Challenge from Nov. 14 to Dec. 18, and a Facebook live session on Nov. 29.
Government employees and stakeholders will also recite the “Panatang Makapalay” during their flag ceremonies and will serve half-cup of rice and healthier rice in their cafeteria.