Brown rice was sold for a historically low P37/kg during its launching in Bohol, April 20.
The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in partnership with the National Food Authority (NFA) recently forged ties to push for the consumption of brown rice by making it more accessible and affordable to the general public.
Launched at the Island City Mall Activity Center in Tagbilaran City, the BROWN4good Project will ensure that there will be continuous supply of quality and low-cost brown rice in the market through NFA retail stores.
Brown rice is the whole grain or unpolished version of white rice. The retained bran contains higher amounts of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Normally priced at P50-P80/kilo, brown rice is not as popular among consumers.
Nourishing the nation
“Hunger and malnutrition are huge setbacks in our development as a nation. And DA believes that promoting brown rice as an alternative staple to white rice ensures not only more food on the table but also adequate nourishment for the Filipinos. Thus, the BROWN4good project,” said Hazel V. Antonio, Be Riceponsible campaign director.
The BROWN4good project is an initiative of DA-PhilRice that goes side-by-side with DA’s Be Riceponsible Campaign, which has been pushing for brown rice consumption since 2014.
According to a Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) report, the Philippine per capita consumption of white rice is at 114 kilo per year in 2012. The report also indicated a decreasing trend in rice per capita consumption from about 128 kilo per person in 2008 to 114 kilo in 2012.
However, the International Diabetes Federal website puts the Philippines as top 15 in the world for diabetes prevalence. An emerging diabetes hotspot, the country is home to more than 4M people diagnosed with the disease – and a worryingly large unknown number who are unaware they have diabetes.
Studies show that regular consumption of whole grain cereals, such as brown rice may help reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer.
“The BROWN4good project wants to see more Filipinos making healthy and sensible food choices. A well-nourished people is a country’s pride,” Antonio stressed.
“DA hopes to bring brown rice back to the Filipino plate—and not just on the high-income families’ dining tables,” Antonio added.
The DA-PhilRice and NFA will see more areas covered by the affordable brown rice offering in NFA retail stores starting May 2016.