Organic Rice Festival highlights grain's rich history

November 26, 2003, Times: Rice has a rich history in the Filipino culture and still remains a staple of the modern diet, but the agricultural methods being used to deliver that rice to the table are a recent development. It is these modern agriculture techniques the Organic Rice Festival being held at the Ayala Activity Center hopes to expose in favor of organic methods that are more environmentally sound and economically empowering and more familiar to past generations, reports the The Manila Times.

Organic rice cooperatives earn more for their farmers than conventional farms, says the paper. The Cooperatibang Likas ng Nueva Ecija (COOL-NE) is one such example. COOL-NE, with the help of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, began growing, processing and marketing their brand of organic rice called Kalikasan. Seven years later there are over a hundred farmers with an aggregate of nearly 200 hectares that benefit from the program. COOL-NE has profited from institutional markets, such as restaurants, who appreciate the unique rice varieties organic farmers make available and the value it adds to their restaurant.

Educating consumers on the benefits of organic rice is the primary goal of the festival. In addition the festival hopes to bring together the different proponent organizations and increase consumer demand enough to hopefully offset the premium prices the rice now commands.

Organic rice is available in many of the more established Filipino supermarkets and grocery chain outlets, such as Metro Manila Ever, Isetann, Glori’s, Unimart, Cash & Carry, Rustan’s, and Masagana.

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