As one of the pilot provinces identified with high cases of malnutrition, Catanduanes is now ready to produce and distribute Malusog Rice.
The beta carotene-enriched rice was established in San Andres and Virac this dry season with an expected harvest of 26t in 4.82ha in May 2023.
Harvested Malusog (Golden) Rice will be dispersed using the program-based buyback system approach, in which the National Food Authority (NFA) will purchase the rice from the farmer cooperators, and sell it as milled rice.
NFA is partnering with the concerned provincial and municipal local government units in procuring the Malusog Rice and will be distributed in feeding programs and relief operations.
Jerry Marquez, one of the farmer-cooperators in Virac, expressed his anticipation for an abundant harvest for their community to consume this type of rice.
“It was a good journey to experience the planting of Malusog Rice last season. I learned new useful practices, and the local government unit was easy to coordinate with to help us,” Marquez said.
Provincial Agriculturist Nelia Teves acknowledged the success of the pilot-scale deployment in the province and assured policy and technical support for implementing the Malusog Rice program from the Provincial Agriculture Services Office (PASO) and municipal agricultural offices.
Selected households in Viga and Virac, Catanduanes received the first milled Malusog 1 or NSIC 2022 Rc 682GR2E during the Unang Ani ng Golden Rice: Isang Pasasalamat in Dec. 2022.