Ilocos Norte LGUs urged to produce iron-fortified rice

LAOAG CITY — How much does it take to localize the production of iron-fortified rice?

For just an additional PHP2 per kilo of ordinary rice, one can serve his or her family iron-fortified grains. Iron is essential for proper growth and development of the human body but many people often lack in diet – especially among infants, children, and women of reproductive age.

In a technology forum held at the Ilocos Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Monday, the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) in the province, in cooperation with Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation, urged local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders here to locally produce iron-fortified rice and help eradicate cases of malnutrition.

Racky Doctor, president of Nutridense Manufacturing Corporation located in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, said the company is looking for local partners to spread the production and consumption of iron-fortified rice.

In support of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Doctor said the iron fortification program can also create employment as it puts more value to ordinary rice harvest.

In an interview, DOST Provincial Director Jonathan Viernes said Ilocos Norte residents can take advantage of this undertaking.

The Food Fortification Law stipulates the mandatory fortification of staples like rice with iron and voluntary fortification of processed foods with iron, Vitamin A and or iodine.

It may be recalled that rice fortification with iron was started in 2004 but its adoption has been slow.

With improved technology, Viernes expressed optimism local government units and other government agencies and private stakeholders will support the  move and make a great difference in combatting micronutrients deficiency in the country.

The forum was participated in by the Provincial Nutrition Action officers, Municipal Social Welfare and Development officers and Municipal Nutrition Action officers of the different municipalities in the province.