Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel PiAol recently visited the province of Banaue in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) for the formal launching of the Brown4Good Challenge Campaign, which seeks to encourage the consumption of brown rice and encourage others to do the same to help the local farmers.
The challenge is easy.
Just take a photo of a meal with brown rice. Afterwards, post the picture in social media sites like Facebook, with the hashtags brown4good, brown4goodlife, and the region you belong to. Tag your friends and encourage them to do the same.
The campaign aims to ultimately address four major problems of the Filipino: undernourishment, low income of rice farmers, rice self-sufficiency, and hunger.
Aside from brown rice, the Department is also campaigning for the consumption of heirloom rice produced in the highlands of the Cordillera region.
During his visit in CAR early August PiAol announced that he will be the salesman of heirloom rice.
"The challenge of heirloom rice industry is the inability to produce in larger quantities," he said.
"We have a market in Europe and US where people are getting more conscious regarding their health, the only problem is that we cannot produce in large volumes," he added.
Heirloom rice varieties are traditionally milled as unpolished using mortar and pestle until recently.
Thru a collaborative research between the local farmers, RICE Incorporated, Eight Wonder Incorporated, and the Philippine Rice Research institute, a customized milling machine was developed. The modern miller can process rice with the same result as from the traditional hand pounding but with faster and efficient production rate. The machine also maintains the nutrients of the unpolished heirloom rice that is rich in protein, and has high fiber, fat, minerals, and vitamin contents.
While in Banaue, PiAol also disclosed his plan to revitalize the Banaue Rice Terraces .
"If you bring back the fertility of the soil, the farmlands will be able to produce more, and so we are proposing P197-million in assistance and interventions for this initiative," he said.
The Secretary also expressed his readiness to provide 100 dairy cattle for the Banaue rice farmers to take care of.
"They may use the dung as fertilizer, while the milk will be purchased by DA for its various feeding programs.
Source: Philippine Information Agency