The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Batac Branch held a stakeholders’ meeting for the deployment of Golden Rice at Pangasinan Spring Land Resort in Urdaneta, Pangasinan wherein City/Municipal LGUs, Municipal Health Officers, representatives of the health officers, and seed growers from the municipalities of Aguilar, Balungao, Manaoag, Mangatarem, and the City of Urdaneta were gathered to enjoin their support and gain a better understanding of why Golden Rice is being deployed in the province.

Since consumption of Golden Rice by Vitamin A deficient individuals is one of the solutions to eradicating childhood malnutrition, Ms. Wylibeth Lumpias, a representative from the National Nutrition Council, shared the nutrition situation in Region 1, most particularly in Pangasinan, encouraging the participants to integrate Golden Rice into the existing Agri-nutrition programs of the local government units.

After which, Ms. Anielyn Alibuyog, co-project leader of the Golden Rice project and Assistant-OIC Branch Director of DA-PhilRice Batac, addressed the importance and benefits of consuming Golden Rice in order to create an enabling environment for the smooth deployment of Golden Rice through coming up with local resolutions in the province/municipality.

“Ang gagawin natin ay first, increase the availability of golden rice seeds, secondly is creating awareness na matutugunan ang Vitamin A Deficiency through golden rice and of course, to gain support from your respective LGUs”, said Ms. Alibuyog.

According to Ms. Alibuyog, the deployment of golden rice seeds has already begun this 2022, particularly in the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, with the municipality of Piddig in Ilocos Norte being the first to incorporate golden rice.

The seed distribution has already commenced this 2nd quarter of 2022 and seed supply is sufficient for the 46-ha seed production this wet season 2022. 10ha is allocated for production to the on-station production (DA-PhilRice stations, selected DA-ROS w/in the target provinces), 21ha is allocated for seed growers, particularly in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, and all other areas, and 15ha is allocated to selected farmers in target provinces.

Meanwhile, following the stakeholders’ meeting in the morning, guests from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headed by Dr. Russell Reinke, Program Lead – Healthier Rice, IRRI and Dr. Donald J. MacKenzie, Executive Director of Institute for International Crop Improvement, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center made a field inspection and monitoring of the Golden Rice seed production in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

The group was, assisted by Philrice-Batac Branch Director Ms Hazel Jane Orge, DA-RFO I Regional Seed Coordinator Ms. Analiza Ramos, and other LGU partners.

Stakeholder engagement activities are being carried out to prepare for the introduction of Golden Rice into the community and households in accordance with the DA’s food security goals.###