Golden Rice’ to ease Antique malnutrition problem

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The “Golden Rice” variety developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is seen as the cure for the malnutrition problem in this Western Visayas province.

Antique has a history of high malnutrition rate, It has thus been identified as a pilot area for the new variety in Region 6, as shared by Provincial Agriculturist Nicolasito Calawag.

Calawag said “Golden Rice is rich in Vitamin A which could address the Vitamin A deficiency that leads to malnutrition among our children.”

Provincial data show that in the past two years, Antique has been number one in terms of stunted or impaired growth among children aged zero to 59 months old due to malnutrition. It had a malnutrition prevalence rate of 10.76% in 2020 and 12.09% in 2021.

To address the issue, the provincial government had initiated various feeding programs, like providing fresh cow’s milk and eggs to the Department of Education learners in the province. the problem of malnutrition among children remains.

Calawag has expressed optimism the farmers’ planting of the  Golden Rice variety in Antique will impact significantly in its malnutrition problem..

He said farmers from the towns of Sibalom and Patnongon have already received sacks of Golden Rice from the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute earlier this week.

Calawag said the municipality of Sibalom has been identified, for Golden Rice planting being the rice granary of Antique and that there is a seed grower who will be making available his  produce as seeds for other farmers.

He said said the seed grower, during harvest time, will make available the produced palay to other farmers whom they will encourage to plant the variety. The local farmers will then supply their local government will Golden Rice for its feeding program.

The Golden Rice variety takes only 108 to 110 days to be harvested. A hectare planted with the variety will yield some 100 cavans of palay at harvest time.