Empowering Sibugay: ‘RICEponsible’ drive in rice awareness initiatives

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (PIA) — “Take only what you can eat on your plate.”

Department of Agriculture (DA) Agricultural Center chief Desiree Arriola made the call during PIA Kapihan radio program in consonace with the commemoration of the National Rice Awareness Month this November.

“Dapat tayong maging responsable sa ating rice consumption; take only what you need; yung alam mong sapat lang at di masasayang, like a half-cup serving,” she said.

Arriola emphasized the need for conscientious rice consumption, advocating for individuals to take only what is necessary, opting for measured servings to shun unnecessary wastage.

It can be recalled that Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Deputy Executive Director Karen Barroga revealed that approximately two tablespoons of rice are put to waste per person, and substantial rice spoilage exacerbates the issue during grand celebrations such as fiestas, resulting in overwhelming wastage equivalent to an annual loss of P7 million—an amount adequate to feed 2.5 million Filipinos.

Arriola appealed to Sibugaynons to refrain from contributing to the already alarming statistics on rice wastage, as she highlighted the urgency of avoiding unnecessary depletion of rice resources and advocated for the adoption of alternative carbohydrate sources, urging the public to diversify their diets beyond conventional white rice.

“Huwag na tayong dumagdag pa sa datos on rice wastage, huwag magsayang ng bigas dahil maraming taong nagugutom. Let’s practice eating alternative sources of carbohydrates,” Arriola emphasized.

In consonance with her call, Arriola introduced the “ABKD” campaign, conceptualized by the DA, which encapsulates the principles of being “RICEponsible.”

“Let us be RICEponsible individuals at ugaliin ang ABKD ng rice consumption.”

ABKD is DA’s branding campaign that stands for:

A-adlay, mais, saba at iba pa, ay ihalo sa kanin;
B-rown rice ay kainin;
K-anin ay huwag sayangin;
D–apat bigas ng Pilipinas ang bilhin.

The campaign on being RICEPonsible captures NRAM’a nationwide campaign, which highlights the importance of rice as the country’s staple food, promotes pesticide-free local rice varieties, and encourages consumers, farmers, and policymakers to help achieve rice self-sufficiency in the country.

Ariola also emphasized the advantages of consuming brown rice, saying studies show that continuous consumption of brown rice helps reduce cancer incidences and heart diseases, and since it is unpolished, it is rich in fiber, lowers the risk of developing diabetes, and lowers cholesterol as it prevents weight gain.

Local initiatives

Ariola said that as part of the NRAM, the provincial office of DA is scheduled to conduct a series of Kadiwa ng Pangulo on November 16 and 17 at the capitol grounds and November 22 and 24 at Budget Wise commercial center, where a wide array of locally produced products are displayed and made affordable for consumers.

“Katatapos lang naming mag Kadiwa on November 6-8, and we had more than 10 exhibitors who participated and were able to earn good. May mga bags of rice sourced from our local farmers in Zamboanga del Sur na available sa Kadiwa at only P46 per kilo,” she said.

Another activity lined up for NRAM is the school campaign, where about 100 students of the Sibugay’s Matthew- Jackson School Inc. in Ipil town will be educated on responsible rice consumption. The event is set for November 17. DA is also set to guest on the PIA Talakayan program on November 16 for the RICEponsible campaign and NRAM.

NRAM is an annual undertaking championed by DA and its attached agency, PhilRice. The initiative traces its roots to Presidential Proclamation No. 524, signed on January 5, 2004. The celebration underscores the country’s commitment to achieving rice self-sufficiency while addressing malnutrition and poverty.

With “Be RICEponsible” as its theme, the NRAM seeks to engage and mobilize the public as rice warriors to minimize food waste and foster responsible rice consumption. (RVC/JPA/Zamboanga Sibugay)

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