This year’s observance of National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) in November iterates the importance of eating healthy and nutritious rice.
“The kind of rice we consume is crucial to our health. This is especially true to us because rice is the staple food of Filipinos,” Dr. Marissa V. Romero, food scientist and co-lead of the Healthier Rice Project of DA-PhilRice, said.
Attuned to the NRAM theme “Be RICEponsibly healthy”, the scientist encourages the public to consume brown (unpolished) and pigmented rice, which are healthier options compared with white rice.
Brown rice is also beneficial to farmers because of its 10% higher milling recovery than that of white rice. If every Filipino will eat brown rice at least three times a day, our rice importation would shrink by an average of 50,000MT/yr.
Institutionalized in 2004, the 17th NRAM celebration this year also stresses the importance of buying the produce of our local farmers.
“Based on the DA-PhilRice study, rice in the Philippines is generally less exposed to pesticides and fertilizers compared with the rice that we import from Vietnam and Thailand. If consumers are to put value on safety and nutrition, local rice should be preferred. It should be packaged as the best rice option in the market, owing to the safety of the practices and inputs employed in producing it in the country,” Romero advised.
She added that the campaign highlights non-wastage of rice to help achieve rice security.
The 2018 Household Food Consumption Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that 48g of the total 67g food waste in a household are cereals and cereal products.
The DA, PhilRice, and Agricultural Training Institute spearhead the NRAM activities for government agencies and social media activities for the public.