Philippine Daily Inquirer

NFA retailers to sell brown rice at P37 per kg


BOHOL — In a pioneering initiative, brown rice, usually sold at a premium, will now be sold at a price lower than market price, and made more accessible to the masses.

Brown rice, often available in supermarke­ts and market stalls at prices ranging from P50 to P80 and above per kilogram, is now sold for P37 per kilogram at rice retail outlets partnered with the National Food Authority (NFA), initially in Bohol. This rate is only a few pesos higher than NFA regular and well-milled rice, sold at P27 and P32 per kilogram, respective­ly, and almost 50% lower than commercial brown rice.

Each 50-kilogram bag is priced at P1,750 within Bohol. Purchases per kilo and per bag can be availed at a distributi­on center located at Marbella Leisure Plaza along Gallares Street, Tagbilaran City run by the Bohol Farmer's Associatio­n Marketing Cooperativ­e (BOFAMCO) of Pilar, Bohol.

Recognizin­g the need to make the nutritious staple widely available, the NFA and Department of Agricultur­e-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) worked to get locally-grown and milled rice to markets at a low cost, as part of the DA's BROWN4good project.

The RPC sources its rice requiremen­ts from local farmers under the Sikat Saka Program. Income for farmers

The BROWN4good project aims to make brown rice more accessible by allowing each region to have a supplier of low-cost brown rice.

One cooperativ­e will be identified per region that would be willing to supply quality brown rice to food establishm­ents at P37 per kilogram. This would already result in an additional gross income of around P90,000 as compared with selling their paddy rice dry at P17. Benefits of brown rice for consumers

The availabili­ty of brown rice at an affordable price is believed to be able to address the issue of malnutriti­on in the country.

Compared to white rice, brown rice is considered more nutritious, as its bran layer has not been removed by polishing. The bran layer provides vital vitamins and minerals that the body needs such as fiber, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, among others.

Access to brown rice can also help increase rice supply, as milling recovery of brown rice is higher, at 70% to 75%, compared with the 65% recovery of white rice. In addition, energy is conserved as milling of brown rice is more efficient compared with white rice.

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