Written by the Web Team
Local executives in the country are prioritizing measures that will reduce rice wastage as commitment in sustaining the National Year of Rice 2013, which will be launched this year as the Be RICEponsible campaign.
During last year’s Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines meeting, around 130 towns and cities pledged to support policies that would promote responsible rice consumption for the country to be rice-self-sufficient and for the Filipinos to have better health.
Hazel Antonio, director of the National Year of Rice 2013 campaign, said that dialogues with the food service industry and discussions at the local legislature are now being conducted to implement the default serving and availability of half rice to prevent wastage.
Already, food establishments in some provinces including La Union, were required to include half cup of rice in their menu.
“The goal of default serving and availability of half-cup rice is not to limit the rice consumption of Filipinos, but rather to give consumers more freedom to order what they can only eat,” Antonio said.
Based on a 2008 data of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, every Filipino wastes around 9g of uncooked rice or 2tbsp of cooked rice daily. The wastage is equivalent to 13 percent of our rice imports in 2010 and can be valued at PhP6.2B, enough to feed 2.6M Filipinos for a year.
“We cannot solve the issue on rice wastage by forcing people to eat beyond what they can. The solution is to provide them with smaller serving options and by serving half-cup as default especially during conferences or meetings where plated meals are served,” Antonio explained.
“In the end, this will not only reduce wastage in rice but also on money as people will not be forced to pay for something that they do not want to eat,” Antonio concluded.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has also recently filed Senate Bill 1863, or the “Anti-Rice Wastage Act of 2013” while Butil Rep. Agapito Guanlao and Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza filed a similar bill at the House of Representatives.
Senator Loren Legarda also expressed her support to the half cup policy during her privilege speech at the senate on rice, biodiversity, and climate change on December 18, 2013.
Apart from half cup of rice, also being encouraged by DA-PhilRice is the serving of healthier rice such as brown rice and rice mixed with other staples such as corn and camote to promote better health.