MANILA, Philippines – Recently, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at UP Los Baños held the Women in Rice Farming forum, with Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo as special guest. Dr. Bruce Tolentino, the institute’s deputy director general for Communications and Partnerships, said that it’s high time for everybody to rally against malnutrition.
Vitamin A deficiency causes illnesses, blindness and death and affects 1.7 million children (15.2 percent) in the Philippines and 33.5 percent of preschool children worldwide. Adequate levels prevent blindness and reduce overall child mortality by 24 percent.
To address the problem, the government has been implementing programs that include capsule supplementation, food fortification, dietary diversification, and promotion of optimal breastfeeding. But, while these programs are effective, a lot of people don’t get the help they need because they live in areas that are difficult to reach!
These days, the IRRI is developing the Golden Rice, meant to help reduce the incidence of vitamin A deficiency in the country.