Ilocos Norte officials, residents back golden rice dev’t


LAOAG CITY — Some local officials and residents here expressed support for the development of a genetically-modified rice to help solve Vitamin A and mineral deficiency among children.

Spearheaded by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI), researchers have been pushing for the development and commercialization of the “golden rice” to complement solutions to the Vitamin A and mineral deficiency among children.

To produce golden rice, the genes of a corn and a bacterium are combined and inserted in ordinary rice. Study shows that eating a cup of golden rice would cover about half of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for adults.

To date, the golden rice project has completed a single confine field trial and is already applying for field trial approval.

To solicit support, a team from IRRI is briefing various stakeholders in different parts of the country about golden rice.

In Batac City, a multi-sectoral group composed of representatives of state universities and colleges, farmers, housewives, researchers, educators, legislators and policy makers, among others, attended a public forum on Friday to familiarize themselves with this genetically modified crop.

Here in Laoag, former Department of Education superintendent Cecilia Aribuabo said she fully supports the cultivation of golden rice, which she noted contains beta-carotene that is converted into Vitamin A as needed by the body.

Golden rice project field test supervisor Ronalyn Miranda meanwhile clarified that golden rice is not a “silver bullet” that would solve Vitamin A deficiency but it offers an alternative to improve the people’s health.

Dr. Reynaldo Castro of the PRRI said a field test has been conducted in Batac since 2011 and it has been proven safe to eat.

Different stakeholders here have signed a manifesto supporting the development of golden rice.