Feature: Golden Rice - ultimate solution to malnutrition?
by Jemin B. Guillermo
Roxas City (7 September) -- Another government initiative is underway to combat malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency among children.
Aside from the food-for-school and supplemental feeding programs, which are included in the hunger mitigation plan of the national government, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has also been working to secure the approval for the improved fortified rice variety.
With the commercial release of Golden Rice by 2011, scientists are optimistic that the government's efforts to fight malnutrition and reduce the chronic micronutrient deficiency suffered by millions of children and pregnant women will be boosted.
The Golden Rice variety, fortified with Vitamin A, iron and zinc, has been noted as the ultimate solution to the problem of malnutrition being experienced by at least 2 billion people worldwide.
In Capiz, the prevalence of malnutrition among children, covering the below normal low and below normal very low, was 11.3 percent in 2006, Provincial Nutritionist/Dietician Ma. Divina Bigcas disclosed.
As another strategy to combat malnutrition, the province had conducted a week-long counseling training course for some midwives and health educators on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), Bigcas said.
Meanwhile, Golden Rice Network Coordinator Gerard Barry revealed that 2 billion people are iron deficient, half of whom are pregnant women in Asia.
Barry added that another 2 billion people suffer from zinc deficiency, while about 250 million children are hobbled by Vitamin A. deficiency. (PIA) [top]