'Golden Rice' commercial release eyed
by Rachelle Nessia
Dumaguete City (7 September) -- Provincial Agriculturist Gregorio Paltinca said he welcomes the planned commercial release of Golden Rice by 2011, a move to boost the government's effort to combat malnutrition in the country
Scientists are eyeing the commercial release of the improved rice variety, which has been reported to reduce chronic micronutrient deficiency suffered by millions of children and pregnant women across the country.
Paltinca said he welcomes any breakthroughs in agricultural produce as long as it is not belong to the genetically modified organisms or GMO. "GMOs are banned in Negros Oriental under the Negros Island Sustainable and Rural Agricultural Development (NISARD) program, also the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers," he stressed.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has been working double time to secure approval for the improved rice variety fortified with Vitamin A, iron, and zinc, touted as the ultimate solution to the problem of malnutrition being experienced by at least 2 billion people worldwide.
The production of stable lines for Golden Rice and fingerprinting are being undertaken while tests on the availability, safety and environmental risks of the rice variety will be completed by next year, according to PhilRice.
PhilRice is breeding Golden Rice into PSB Rc82, the most popular variety and grown all over the Philippines, and new, high quality, multi-disease resistant varieties, or the "3-in-1" rice that combines Golden Rice with the Tungrovirus- and bacterial leaf blight-resistant varieties. (PIA) [top]