Despite low demand, Orion LGU to continue IFR project
by William L. Beltran
Bataan (21 November) -- Amidst issues of low demand and stiff competition with commercial rice varieties, the local government of Orion remains firm in implementing its iron-fortified rice (IFR) project.
Dr. Corazon Cruz, municipal health officer and IFR project coordinator, said that the onset of the project early this year run smoothly in the area. It was only sometime in September, that the selling of the IFR became scarce.
It was that time, Dr. Cruz said, that rice retailers in the town got a bit reluctant in selling IFR because most of them have their own produce and a lot of commercial rice varieties were priced lower than the IFR.
"Commercial rice became cheaper than the IFR," Dr. Cruz lamented.
Records show that the sale of IFR went down dramatically at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Dr. Cruz intoned that the LGU has been and still remains committed to the project knowing its significance particularly in nutrition aspect, though.
One of the interventions, said Dr. Cruz, being undertaken by the Orion LGU now in order to give the project a big push, is negotiating with the National Food Authority (NFA) to augment its allocation of NFA commercial rice in Orion from 1,000 to 5,000 sacks per month.
With this, the fortification/blending will already be done in Orion. This will also make the price of NFA commercial IFR competitive with those of other commercial rice varieties, added Dr. Cruz.
Orion obtains its IFR supply from a rice miller in Nueva Ecija. To augment the monthly supply and attain self-sufficiency in IFR, the LGU does some iron fortification/blending given the NFA rice augmentation.
Rolling stores are also being considered to be mobilized to place the IFR within reach of consumers particularly in far-off barangays.
Commercial IFR, according to Orion LGU, is now pegged at P27.50 while the NFA high-grade IFR is priced at P25.50.
IFR project was launched in Orion on April 8, 2008. A municipal ordinance was passed by the LGU providing regulatory mechanism for the sale of IFR in all stores and food service establishments in the municipality. (PIA) [top]