Cultivation of vitamin A-rich golden rice to be expanded in Antique, Iloilo

A sample of the golden rice, which will be inbred with the local rice variety of PSB Rc 82. (Photo courtesy of DA-6)

ILOILO CITY -- The cultivation of genetically-modified golden rice will be expanded in the provinces of Antique and Iloilo.

The golden rice is said to be rich in Vitamin A and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the state-owned corporation under the Department of Agriculture (DA) which was granted biosafety permits for both commercial propagation and consumption, is looking to prioritize the cultivation of the golden rice in areas where there is great deficiency in Vitamin A.

“We will be prioritizing the deployment of golden rice in areas with a high incidence of vitamin A deficiency by using market-driven and program-based approaches,” said Dr. Ronan Zagado, PhilRice program leader.

Golden rice is a good source of Vitamin A, and a study has found out that there is 15.5 percent deficiency of Vitamin A among young children and pregnant women.

Zagado said the golden rice program is aligned with the food security framework of DA with emphasis on the promotion of safe and nutritious food.

Zagado said Antique and Iloilo provinces are among the seven pilot provinces in the country for propagation of golden rice.

PhilRice is targeting to turnover 80 kilograms of the golden rice for inbreeding with local rice variety of PSB Rc 82 for a two-hectare planting area in Antique province while another 60 kilograms for a 1.5-hectare planting area in Iloilo province.

During a recent stakeholders’ meeting, Zagado assured farmers that the golden rice can be grown by practicing the same crop management system as many other inbred rice varieties.