Dr. Riza G. Abilgos-Ramos, nutritionist and supervising science research specialist at the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), was conferred the Scientist I rank by the Scientific Career Council of the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Science and Technology, April 22.
Dr. Abilgos-Ramos, through her research works, has developed complementary food and beverage from rice and locally-available, nutrient-dense, and low-cost crops designed for malnourished older infants, pre-school and school children, teenagers, and pregnant and lactating women.
She initiated the development of the buffalo ice cream bar enriched with vegetables and colored rice, which is being manufactured and sold since 2019 by Dairy Box of Catalanacan Multi-purpose Cooperative, and of the brown rice ice cream sandwich adopted by NutriDense Corporation.
She also developed the Macarse rice brew being sold by RiceBIS Zaragoza and has recently gained the One Town, One Product label from the Department of Trade and Industry. Women farmers were capacitated in producing and marketing these rice-based products for additional income.
The new scientist is a Distinguished Alumna awardee of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños in 2014 and a recipient of the Alumni Award of the International Fellowship Program of the Institute of International Education for 2015-2016.
She was part of the team of researchers behind MS 13 or IR68144, a high-iron rice, which was released as a special variety for farmers under the auspices of the Rice Biofortification project of the HarvestPlus Program funded by the International Food Policy Research Institute. She also led the study on the acceptability and nutritional quality of malunggay-supplemented rice crackers and salt bread with chili pepper leaves.
She is now one of the 14 DA-PhilRice scientists – five of whom are women.