Written by the Web Team
Students from elementary and high schools in Manila experienced harvesting rice in Rizal Park’s Rice Garden during the 11th Ceremonial Rice Harvesting and first ever Rice Mix Day on November 22.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who was introduced as the Rice Ambassador, led the ceremonial harvesting, together with officials of Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Education (DepEd), and the city government of Manila.
The ceremony aims to further increase public knowledge about rice and to promote the National Year of Rice advocacies.
The activity highlights the four Ks for consumers to help the country provide enough rice to Filipinos. The four Ks are: konti-konting kanin muna, which urges consumers to eat less rice; kakaibang carb naman, advises eating other food staples; kumain ng brown rice; and kilalanin at pasalamatan ang mga magsasaka.
“Learning more about what farmers do for rice to be produced is important for the students to appreciate rice,” Dr. Eufemio Rasco Jr., executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Romulo Lucena of DepEd Manila stressed that students in urban places like Manila are not aware of how rice is planted and processed until it reaches consumers’ plate.
“This activity helps students to have an actual glimpse of the rice plant. It will help them further understand the agricultural sector’s effort for Filipinos to have food,” he said.
Edilberto de Luna, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations and National Coordinator for Corn Program, said that the students, as part of the youth sector, are effective agents for change.
“If you share your knowledge, you can help the country achieve food sufficiency,” he said.
Corn grits, a staple in the Visayas region, was also served to the participants. Corn is one of the foods recommended to be mixed with rice other than table banana, camote, and cassava.
By eating rice mix, children’s health could be improved as rice blended with corn grits is richer in dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C than plain rice.
The students said that they appreciate the activity because it helped them understand more about their role to help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency like doing the 4 Ks and spreading this advocacy to others.