The provinces of Lanao del Norte and Dinagat Islands recently declared their support for modern agricultural biotechnology production, marketing, and consumption by signing resolutions BBE3-3442 and 266-2023, respectively. The move intends to address food insecurity and malnutrition among children aged six months to five years in both provinces.

The resolution fully supports the implementation of Malusog Rice, a new type of rice genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene, a source of vitamin A, in the grains. Malusog Rice can complement existing interventions for vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which affects 15.5% of Filipino children.

All necessary biosafety assessments for Malusog Rice have been completed as per the DOST-DA-DENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular No. 1 Series of 2016. The DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has also issued a regulatory green light for use of Malusog Rice in food, feed, or for processing, marking it as safe as regular rice.

The DA-BPI approved the cultivation and commercialization of Malusog Rice on July 21, 2021, allowing farmers to cultivate it in the fields. These accomplishments make Lanao del Norte and Dinagat Islands’ resolution a major step toward improving livelihoods and nutrition in these areas.

Marelie D. Tangog, DA-PhilRice Agusan

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute