GOLDEN RICE is expected to be competitively priced when it becomes available on the market, according to an official from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Reynante L. Ordonio, PhilRice Healthier Rice project lead, said in a virtual briefing Thursday that Golden Rice can be grown the same way as other rice varieties.

On July 21, the Bureau of Plant Industry issued the permit for the commercial propagation of genetically modified Golden Rice, which aims to address Vitamin A deficiencies.

“In terms of price, we are expecting that Golden Price will be competitive since it is an inbred variety. This means that Golden Rice seed can be used again for the next planting season,” Mr. Ordonio said.

According to Mr. Ordonio, Golden Rice seeds will be available in selected areas by 2022, expanding to other provinces by 2023.

Initial provinces to receive Golden Rice include Catanduanes, Qurino, Samar, Antique, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Maguindanao.

“Commercialization of Golden Rice is expected by 2024,” Mr. Ordonio said.

On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) inaugurated the P272-million crop biotechnology center in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija alongside the official launch of Golden Rice.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said during the launch that more consumers and farmers will accept Golden Rice as long as the government continues its extension work and information campaigns.

“As Golden Rice can now be commercially planted in the Philippines, we aim to complement current interventions to address malnutrition among children and pregnant women due to Vitamin A deficiency,” Mr. Dar said.

The DA said the crop biotechnology center will focus on improving the performance, yield, and quality of commodities such as rice, corn, and coconut. It will also help in the development of high-value crops such as mango, garlic, onion, tomato, cotton, cacao, banana, and abaca. The center is funded by the US Public Law 480 program.

“The CBC aims to advance biotechnology research for development and innovation, and generate various products that will enhance the competitiveness of Philippine agriculture, and push for food security and climate change resiliency,” the DA said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave