At long last, farmers are now being encouraged to think that business can go beyond merely selling fresh palay at the mercy of traders. Through the DA-PhilRice’s Rice Business Innovations System (RiceBIS) Community Program, the mentality has taken shape as select rice farmers’ groups now pride themselves with their best-selling rice and rice-based products. Check them out!

Brown rice

Also called “pinawa,” these are milled but unpolished grains of any rice variety. Its niche is among consumers who value both health and affordability as it offers higher nutritional value than white rice.

It is soft and aromatic, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants. Brown rice also helps control blood sugar levels so it is highly recommended for individuals with diabetes. It aids in weight loss owing to its short-term satiety or its eater feeling full faster, is good for heart health, and reduces threats of having cancer.

Brown rice enterprise has a 39% average return on investment (ROI) among all RiceBIS sites.

The Zambales-based RiceBIS Community, Farmer’s Federation of Castillejos, champions this product.

Farmers package it at 25kg/sack, retailed at P65 per kilo. With over 5,000kg produced per season, the group managed to market brown rice through institutional buyers and local rice consumers. They earned a net income of P98,195 in a season.

RiceBIS Negros Agrarian Reform Cooperative in Murcia, Negros Occidental also sells brown rice at P60/kg. Their market includes DA’s Kadiwa platform, and local and online consumers. Producing 2,000kg in one season, they gained a net income of P21,492.62. Both groups of farmers have other products, of course. 

Pigmented rice

Colored or pigmented rices are known in the highland areas of Cordillera and Cotabato. In the RiceBIS Program, these exotic grains are now becoming more accessible not only for farmers to cultivate but also for more consumers ro relish.

Pigmented rice can be black, red, or purple. Black rice contains the highest amount of antioxidants, proteins, and dietary fiber. Red is a great source of iron and Vitamin B6; purple has much antioxidants, too. Like brown rice, colored rice also helps lower blood sugar, helps prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, aids in weight loss, and is good for the heart.

Pigmented rice has a 42% average ROI.

The RiceBIS Bayambang Agriculture Cooperative in Pangasinan sells its red rice at P75/kg. The market counts on institutional buyers, wholesalers, retailers, and local consumers. In one season, they produced 650kg and earned an initial net income of P6,550 within two months. 

The Makusog Farmers Organization, Cabitan-Masipag FO, and Alas Livelihood FO in Masbate sell their black glutinous rice at P80/pack. Farmers supply the Business Development Unit of DA-PhilRice Bicol, some retailers, food hubs/restaurants, DA’s Kadiwa outlets, online customers, and some institutional buyers. They had a net income of P12,186 for their 300-packs produce during one season.

The Del Rosario and San Isidro Farmers Associations, both in Quezon, also sell black glutinous rice at P80/kg. With 1, 100kg volume produce, their net income reached P13, 216.

Oyster mushroom

One of today’s most common rice-based products among RiceBIS Communities is the oyster mushroom. The fruiting bags where it grows use rice straw as substrate. This edible fungus aids in heart and immune system health, boosts blood sugar control, and provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can be an alternative to meat.

This product is an additional source of income for farmers.

The Ugat-Uhay Farmers Association in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija produces oyster mushroom (locally called kabuting pamaypay) and sells it fresh at P200/kg. Farmers also sell fruiting bags at P20 each. Their net income from mushroom reached P8,143 in 2021. 

One of their members buys the mushroom produce, then processes and markets it as mushroom chicharon.

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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