#MUNIonThis: The average Filipino wastes about 3 tablespoons of rice per day, which translates to 308,000 tons of rice or $223 million a year, which could have been enough to feed about 4.3 million Filipinos. How can we save our poor food system?
Dakila and Oxfam in the Philippines celebrated World Food Day with the Brown Rice Press Lunch last October 16, 2013 at the PETA Theater Center. It was a gathering of chef and celebrity advocates who cooked up their favorite Brown Rice recipes for sharing. These recipes can also be found in the “Brown Rice: The Good Food Planner,” which was launched on the same day.
Marie Nunez, Advocacy, Campaigns, and Communications Programme Coordinator for Oxfam answers:
“Unpolished rice variants like brown rice has been proven to have 10% higher milling recovery compared to white rice, giving more yield for the farmers. This additional 10% in rice volume would translate to 1.58 million metric tons of additional rough rice. This is because brown rice demands only one milling compared to two or more milling processes needed to produce polished white rice. Reducing rice wastage will therefore help increase the country’s over-all rice production volume, which could mean less rice importation, and making the country more rice self-sufficient.”
Rice is a staple of the Filipino diet. No meal is ever complete without a serving of a good old cup of rice. However, according to the Philippine Rice Industry Facts and Figures, the Philippines is having a hard time to feed its people, stating that in 2010, the PH has produced a total of 9.7 million metric tons of milled rice against the total rice consumption of 10.41 million metric tons. This rice gap is filled by importing white rice from our Southeast Asian neighbors, using up the country’s budget which could be used to help agricultural development.
Chef Tatung Sarthou begs to differ:
“There is no lack of food. Ang kulang is creativity, understanding, and honesty. There is no lack of rice in the PH, we have a lot of variety. I refuse to believe that Filipinos are poor.”
Brown Rice advocate and singer-songwriter Bayang Barrios says it’s more about a gradual lifestyle shift:
“We recognize it’s not going to be a sudden change for Filipinos since we have had a love affair with white rice, but gradual change is important. We can at least start by eating brown rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner once a month,”
Both advocates shared their Brown Rice recipes: the Coconut Chicken Rice (Chef Tatung) and the Fried Brown Rice a la Bayang Style with Pinaupong Manok (by Bayang Barrios). Other advocates who shared their own recipes were Tuesday Vargas (Garlic Lime Chicken with Mango Salsa and Brown Rice), Aia de Leon (Thank You Amen! Brown Fried Rice Special), Nityalila Saulo (Brown Rice Coffee), Chef Kenny of Kalikaf in Dumaguete City (Brown Rice Ice Cream w/ Dark Chocolate and Siling Labuyo, with Langka, and with Kapeng Barako), Denise Celdran of Edgy Veggy (Risotto Balls, Tofu Bulgogi, and Kimchi Rice), and a lot more!
Through various events (such as Blogger’s Night, Press Lunch, etc.) where these different recipes showcase the flexibility and flavor of brown rice, the campaign hopes to popularize and increase the demand for brown rice, pushing fast food restaurants and other establishments to adopt the healthier alternative and offer it as an option for us consumers.
#BrownRice is the Good Food
“Brown Rice is not just good for you because it’s healthy. It’s also good for the family, the community, the farmers, the environment, and the country. This year is declared the National Year of the Rice so it is indeed an opportune time not only to make the public aware that Brown Rice is indeed the Good Food but also enlist the support of farmers, consumers, and policy-makers in the country’s goal to be rice self-sufficient,” concludes Rash Caritativo, Dakila’s Brown Rice Campaign Coordinator.
Eating brown rice is one way to help save our food system. And with such delicious recipes, it so much more appealing to make the shift!