The Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Unit 5 (DA-RFU 5) together with the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) have completed two seasons of multi-location field trials of Golden Rice in Camarines Sur - a province in the Philippines.
Golden Rice is a new type of rice that contains beta carotene, a source of vitamin A. These field trials form part of the Golden Rice project that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is working on together with other leading nutrition and agricultural research organizations to develop and evaluate Golden Rice as a potential new way to reduce vitamin A deficiency in the Philippines.
The field trials are an important step in evaluating the performance of Golden Rice and to determine if it can be planted, grown, and harvested just like other popular rice varieties. These trials are also part of the safety assessment of Golden Rice. The field trials were permitted by and followed the safety standards of the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), the national regulatory authority in the Philippines for biotechnology research and development.
Data about Golden Rice collected from these field trials is being compiled and will eventually be submitted to DA-BPI who will evaluate the data as part of their biosafety regulatory process. Golden Rice will only be made available broadly to farmers and consumers in the Philippines if it is approved by DA-BPI and shown to reduce vitamin A deficiency. This process may take another two years or more.
Golden Rice is one of the nutrient-rich rice varieties being developed by PhilRice with support and assistance from IRRI to help reduce the incidence of malnutrition in the country. The Philippine government is also currently promoting better health among Filipinos through its advocacies under the National Year of Rice 2013.
In the province of Camarines Sur, the field trials were conducted over two seasons on two sites in 2012. PhilRice in Nueva Ecija and Ilocos Norte had one site each for two seasons. And in the province of Isabela, a one-season field trial was completed.