Posts Tagged ‘Obama rice’

Campaign to go organic gets boost Smart, I-Con turn greener through ‘change in lifestyle’

THE campaign to go organic is getting the much needed boost as companies with so-called green initiatives take the lead in campaigning for a change in lifestyle among its employees.

Smart Communications, Inc. and its contact center partner, I-Contacts Corporation teamed up to launch “Green Icon” as part of its Earth Day 2009 Celebration at the company’s satellite office along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

A film production entitled “Handa na ba tayo sa pagbabago?  Panahon na! “Ang Pinoy at ang Hamon ng Climate Change” was featured during one-day event, which was also highlighted by an exhibit at the “Green Bazaar” which features green products and initiatives of Smart’s various partner-institutions.

A booth put up by I-Con to collect bottled containers of water and soda cans.  For every three bottle containers presented by its employees, they get a premium item such as Smart cap, to encourage employees to recycle, reuse, and reduce waste.

Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations and organic farming advocates led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) was invited to join the “Green Icon” to promote its various eco-friendly products and initiatives.

Roland Cabigas, Managing Director of LLPI and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines commended Smart and Icon for joining the go organic bandwagon and taking the lead in calling for a change in lifestyle among its employees.

“Our campaign to go organic doesn’t stop in the farms.  Consumers will play a very important role in making our campaign to promote organic farming a success by simply buying organically-grown products,” Cabigas said.

Cabigas said other companies should emulate Smart’s green initiative and join the organic bandwagon by simply campaigning for a change in lifestyle among its employees, which will, in effect help boost farmers’ income.

Meanwhile, the invitation to Go Organic! Philippines, Cabigas said, is an offshoot of its effective implementation of the Quad Media Information Education and Communication (Quad IEC) campaign which is being carried out by LLPI.

Go Organic! Philippines recently took part in the 5th holding of the Eco-Products International Fair (EPIF 2009) and promoted the country’s indigenous rice varieties, which are uniquely different, because of their color – red, brown, pink, violet, white, and its cancer-fighting Obama rice or black rice.

During the Green Icon program, Mirriam Chico, Creative and Events Management team leader of I-con said the program specifically aims to raise awareness among its employees about the urgent need to turn green to help fight global warming and climate change.

With the theme “Its I-Con Choice to Go Green”, the activity aims to convince its 2,000 employees, particularly those assigned at Smart’s contact center, to support environment-friendly initiatives, such as organic farming which produces agri-cultural products without those often harmful chemical fertilizer and pesticide, starting with a change in lifestyle.

“Call center agents or employees are exposed to health risks.  That’s why as part of our campaign to help save Mother Earth, we are calling for a change in lifestyle among our employees, such as by eating healthier food that are free from harmful chemicals,” she said.

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Group pitching calls for massive cultivation, export of cancer-fighting black rice

ORGANIC farming advocates are now pitching calls for the massive cultivation of colored rice, particularly black rice, hoping to make a crack at the global organic food market by supplying unique rice varieties from the Philippines.

Also called the Forbidden rice and Obama rice, the aromatic black rice, which is found in Asia, is rich in phytochemicals that fights cancer. As suggested by its name, it is believed that black rice was first cultivated in China, especially for the Emperor, whose food is forbidden among the royal subjects.

In the Philippine folklore, it is believed that black rice is the food of demigods.

Recently, black rice was introduced in the local market and because of the demand, the cultivation of black rice is starting to gain ground in Luzon, says Jun Garde, a member of the Pambansang Inisyatibo ng Pagbibinhi at Likas-Kayang Pagsasaka sa Pilipinas, Inc or Pabinhi Pilipinas.

There are five differently-colored rice varieties other than white – brown, red, pink, violet and black – which are being cultivated in the Philippines. However, these indigenous rice varieties are rarely sold in the market, as they are usually consumed by the farmers themselves.

“We are confident that black rice and other colored rice varieties will eventually be exported by the Philippines to other countries, considering the demand for healthier food that are organically grown, or grown without the use of agrochemicals,” he said, adding that there is a current initiative to make black rice and other rice varieties more visible in the local market, as well as in supermarkets.

The price of colored rice is slightly higher than ordinary well-milled rice. Black rice is sold between P60 to P120 kilos in some specialty stores.

Through RR Trade, the marketing and alternative trading arm affiliated with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), is forging ties with a big chain of supermarkets for the supply of black rice.

Black rice is cooked longer than ordinary rice, but is aromatic and sticky.

In Tarlac, Garde said around 20 hectares are planted to black rice; 15 hectares in Bulacan, and five hectares in Nueva Ecija. It is also cultivated in some parts of Baler, Aurora, Isabela, Mindoro, and Bataan, Garde, a seed collector said.

Garde has his own seed bank of indigenous rice varieties, including 75 improved varieties of black rice.

He said Pabinhi members are trying to massively produce planting materials which they will distribute to farmers at a reasonable price for the next cropping season.

The improved black rice, like the other indigenous or colored rice varieties, can adapt to poor soil condition. However, he said instead of six months, they can now be harvested after 110 days, just like the ordinary rice that were improved through hybridization.

Garde is a national trainor of Go Organic! Philippines, which conducts the Season-Long Training in six pilot towns and cities in Luzon under the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1.

Go Organic! Philippines led by PRRM and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) is currently taking the lead in implementing the OFSP. OFSP, which promotes organic farming in the Philippines is a partnership project with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

When black rice is used in desserts, it is sometimes cooked with a mixture of coconut milk, sugar, and water to form sweet, sticky and pudding-like rice in many Asian countries.

In the Bicol Region, specifically in the province of Albay, colored rice is used to cook traditional Filipino food or snacks such as puto, puto bungbong, bibingka, suman, and kalamay.