DA intensifies drive for public consumption of brown rice

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato, Aug. 17 (PNA) –- Public school students in a remote village here have started to love brown rice as the Department of Agriculture (DA-12) intensified its campaign for the public to eat brown rice and rice mixed with other staples, officials said on Sunday.

Students of Salunayan Elementary School in Barangay Salunayan here were taught on the nutritional benefits of brown rice during the country`s celebration of Nutrition Month in July.

“I did not expect that brown rice tastes good,” Xyrus E. Almazan, a grade six student of the school, said in the vernacular.

Like many of his classmates, he said that he hesitated when he first learned that they would be served with brown rice. However, once they started eating it, they eventually liked it.

A campaign urging Filipinos to eat brown rice is being implemented by DA-12, according to DA Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan.

She said “Be RICEponsbile,” which is implemented by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as lead agency, urges the public not to waste rice; consume brown rice; eat healthier sources of carbohydrates such as camote, cassava, and banana; and value the hard work of the rice farmers.

Datukan said this is part of the DA’s campaign to attain rice self-sufficiency in 2015.

To serve as example to the public, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala issued a memorandum directing employees of the department’s regional field offices, service bureaus and attached agencies to be a part of the “Be RICEponsible” advocacy of the DA.

Alcala directed these offices to serve brown rice every Wednesday and rice mixed with other staples such as rice and corn grits every Thursday at their respective cafeterias instead of serving white rice.

DA-related offices are also urged to hold activities to extensively promote the consumption of these healthy rice options and to stir the awareness of the masses to become responsible rice consumers.

DA-12 has been promoting responsible consumption of rice to help in the attainment of DA’s goal to be 100 percent rice self-sufficient in the first quarter of 2015. (PNA)