photos available here  

      More than a hundred people witnessed the launching of the Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) in the Municipality of Orion on 08 April 2008.  The day started early for the community when people flocked the streets and curiously watched as the IFR Motorcade passed the main streets of every barangay.  The motorcade started at the Port of Orion and breezed through the barangays to inform the people of the market trial of IFR in the municipality.  The project is being supported by various national government agencies like the Department of Science and Technology and the National Foods Authority.

      After the motorcade led by Honorable Mayor Antonio L. Raymundo, Jr., a short program was held at the Centennial Covered Court of Orion Elementary School.  The program saw the outpouring of support from different personalities who came to witness another historic event in the municipality.  Among those who attended the program were Hon. Albert S. Garcia, Representative of the Second District of Bataan, Dr. Mario Capanzana, Regional Director of the FNRI-DOST, Dr. Graciano Yumul, Jr., Undersecretary for Research and Development of the DOST and Dr. Alicia Lustre, Director of the Food Development Center of the National Foods Authority.

      According to DOST officials, this is the second time that Bataan was chosen for an undertaking.  Back in the 1960’s, the province was also given the chance to pilot test the anti-beri-beri program because of the high prevalence of the disease in the area.  This time, although Orion doesn’t have a high level of iron deficiency, the agency believes in the capacity of the LGU to launch the project and become the model for the whole country.  DOST officials expressed optimism that the program will generate favorable response from the people as shown by the test market they conducted the day before the launching.  The Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) to be marketed in the municipality will be supplied by JD Aguilar Ricemill of Nueva Ecija.  Mayor Raymundo hopes that local rice millers will soon adopt the technology and fortification of locally-produced rice will be possible in the near future.

      The project also drew support from the international community as shown by the presence of Dr. Takashi Togami, Director of the International Life Science Institute Center for Health Promotion based in Japan.  Also present during the launching was Dr. Felix Co of Taiyo Kagaku, who ably represented Dr. Lekk Raj Juneja, the Managing Director of Taiyo Kagaku.

      Municipal-wide sale of Iron Fortified Rice was made possible with the passage of Municipal Ordinance No. 08 – 020 -051, or Ordinance Providing for the Regulatory Mechanism on the Sale of Iron Fortified Rice in the Municipality of Orion, Bataan, which was authored by Councilor Gannie Leon.  The ordinance calls for the inclusion of IFR among rice varieties sold  in all rice retails outlets.  

      The program was capped by the ceremonial tasting of Iron Fortified Rice prepared by the Orion Municipal Health Office led by Dr. Corazon Cruz, Municipal Health Officer and Dr. Grace Teresita Abello, Rural Health Physician.  An in-depth study of the benefits and effects of IFR on the consumers will be conducted by the DOST.  Four barangays will be the main focus of the study to be conducted.  This will include Brgy. Gen. Lim, Bilolo, Daan Pare and Sabatan.  This will be done by the DOST Research Team headed by  Dr. Imelda Agdeppa.  The favorable results of the studies will be the basis for the nationwide marketing of Iron Fortified Rice. 


By: ganniebdeleon / janpatrik

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