Corn Rice: Faster to Grow, More Nutrition, The Solution, The Future

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KeyVisualWhite rice is devoid of nutrition, red, brown and black rice are better alternatives but more expensive.  Sadly, we need to import rice to feed the population.  Enter corn rice . . . it is easier to grow and possess more nutrients then rice. Because it is easier and faster to grow, we can do away with importing rice and switch to growing corn instead.  This is the message behind the launch of Rico Corn held at Chef Jessie’s at Rockwell last October 13.

Rico corn rice is made from 100% Philippine-grown corn fortified with iron and calcium. It tastes just like regular rice but provides the nutrition of corn. Each grain is naturally rich in antioxidants and vitamin A as well as beta-carotene and lutein for good eyesight. As a complex carbohydrate, corn provides sustained energy. It is ideal for athletes and those who lead active lifestyles. Corn is known for its high fiber content, a quality valued by the figure-conscious. In addition, corn has no cholesterol and has lower glycemic index for controlled and balanced blood sugar that is ideal for diabetics and weight watchers.

CookingInstructionsIncorporating RiCo corn rice into the daily routine is fairly simple. Its preparation is not far from what we are accustomed to. At the recent launch of RiCo, RiCo’s very own Chef Joey dela Cruz demonstrated the three easy steps of cooking RiCo: boil, pour, and simmer. Boil the suggested amount of water. Then, pour the desired amount of RiCo. Finally, simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. To prevent loss of water-soluble nutrients, the grains should not be washed. If a loose and fluffy consistency or buhaghag is preferred, RiCo should be cooked like pasta: boil the water, put in RiCo, and then, drain. RiCo retains its yellow hue even after it is cooked, making it very visually appealing and a hit among children.

MenuDuring the launch, Chef Jessie Sincioco demonstrated the versatility of the ingredient through a sit-down meal of mesclun greens salad with prawn RiCo pops, minestrone with RiCo, a main course of pan-fried codfish fillet in pommery mustard sauce and grilled chicken breast in creamy pepper sauce served with RiCo pilaf and sautéed French beans, and RiCo crocant roll. At home, you can use RiCo in your daily favorites such as sinangag, java rice, yang chow rice, and paella.

The locally produced RiCo is a first from the Philippines. Aside from making healthy yummy, this innovation also provides increased livelihood for our farmers and develops our country’s natural resources.

RiCo is available in 1-kilogram, 2-kilogram, and 5-kilogram packs at SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, Rustan’s Supermarket, Walter Mart Supermarket, Robinsons Supermarket, Ever Supermarket, The Landmark Supermarket, Sta. Lucia East Supermarket, Pioneer Centre Supermart, Hi-Top Supermart, Cherry Foodarama, South Supermarket, NCCC Supermarket, Gaisano Mall, and other leading supermarkets nationwide.

For more information  and recipes, visit www.yummyhealthy.ph. You may also click on the Facebook page at  www.facebook.com/yummyhealthylife. Follow the news about RiCo on Instagram via www.instagram.com/yummyhealthylife and Twitter via www.twitter.com/yummyhealthyph.

Hear more below about the benefits of corn rice  from Mr.Jebe Gayanelo, president, farmer, advocate for yummy healthy life

See suggested yummy recipes for your corn rice below:

Tamaraw Population Soars to 382 Due to Conservation Efforts and Community Involvement

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Tamaraw Month Photo by Gregg Yan & WWF Press Release:
The tamaraw, the Philippines’ largest and rarest endemic land animal, is on a comeback. In 1969, the global population was thought to have dropped to less than 100 heads, threatening the species with extinction.

Today, due to strong conservation efforts, the tamaraw population stands at 382 – the highest ever recorded.

A collaboration between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Tamaraw Conservation Programme (TCP), Far Eastern University (FEU), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Mindoro’s indigenous Tau Buid tribesfolk, the Tamaraw Times Two project aims to double the number of wild tamaraw from 300 to 600 by 2020.

“We counted 382 heads during our annual survey last April – a big improvement from the 345 recorded in 2013, and the 327 we saw in 2012. We’re also seeing more juveniles – a sure sign that population recovery is underway,” reports TCP head and Mts. Iglit-Baco Park Superintendent Rodel Boyles.

Differentiated from the larger and more docile carabao (Bubalus bubalis carabanesis), the stocky tamaraw (Bubalis mindorensis) bears distinctive V-shaped horns, a shorter tail and a scraggly coat of chocolate to ebony fur. Adults stand four feet tall and average 300 kilograms – half as much as a typical carabao.

An estimated 10,000 tamaraw thrived in Mindoro in the early 1900s. The population was decimated by widespread logging, hunting and an outbreak of cattle-killing rinderpest in the 1930s. Just a few hundred survive atop the grassy slopes and forest patches of Mts. Iglit, Baco, Aruyan, Bongabong, Calavite and Halcon in Mindoro today.

Except for calving cows, adult tamaraw are mostly solitary. Cornered or threatened, they can be aggressive, chasing their foes up to a kilometer. They are extremely tough: hunters have long claimed to have emptied entire assault rifle clips into charging bulls, to no avail. The tamaraw is classified as critically endangered – the highest risk rating for any animal species. Four national laws protect it from poaching – Commonwealth Act 73 plus Republic Acts 1086, 7586 and 9147. Conservation efforts date back nearly 40 years.

“We aim to synthesize improved park management with enhanced population survey methods. Adding new survey sites and deploying motion-activated camera traps for example, shall give us a clearer picture of tamaraw numbers – especially in areas too remote to study effectively,” explains WWF-Philippines Conservation Programs Head Joel Palma. “Empowering adjacent communities for the protection of tamaraw breeding, grazing and wallowing areas is also crucial in boosting numbers.”

State-of-the-art camera traps deployed by WWF and TCP in Mindoro’s Iglit-Baco Natural Park have also revealed new images of Mindoro’s rarely-seen fauna – suggesting that enhanced park management has buoyed more than tamaraw numbers. The cameras have captured images of Philippine brown deer (Cervus mariannus), Philippine warty pigs (Sus philippensis) and red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), the wild form of the domestic chicken.

The Tamaraw Times Two project aims to revitalize much of Mindoro’s deforested mountain habitats, promoting a holistic ‘Ridge-to-Reef’ approach. Healthy peaks and forests translate to a better-managed source of water so essential for the vast rice-lands of Mindoro’s western floodplains. Healthy mountains in turn, are conducive to productive coasts and coral reefs, a source of seafood for millions.

“It is doubtless that the tamaraw population stands at its highest in years,” concludes FEU President Dr. Michael Alba, whose school emblem also bears the horned visage of the tamaraw. “More than any other animal, it is a symbol of Filipino pride and ferocity. That our allies have counted 37 more heads from last year proves we’re on the right track.” The Philippines celebrates Tamaraw Month this October.

Smart Planning: Iloilo ‘Rain or Shine’ Transportation Routes

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Iloilo Aerial  by Gregg Yan & WWF (Media)Planning for All-Weather Urban Corridors to ensure access amidst climate change is a laudable move by Iloilo that should also be given much thought for the other regions.  Knowing all too well the dangers and destructive forces of nature, it would be irresponsible or even criminal for other leaders not too look into ways of preparing to avoid or prevent major losses.

Is Iloilo city prepared to deal with floods on the scale of Typhoon Frank? Not yet – but a new study might help make it so.

Sitting on a vast, flat alluvial plain, Iloilo city is perched at the edge of the largest marshland in the Western Visayas. In 2013, Iloilo’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said that up to 80% of the province was prone to flooding. Recognizing how more powerful storms can cripple infrastructure by rendering roads impassable, the Philippine arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) partnered with the Iloilo city government to identify All-Weather Urban Corridors to minimize downtime whenever heavy rains submerge low-lying portions of the city. The study was unveiled to local stakeholders last 13 October in Mandurriao, just three days after heavy rains submerged parts of the city.

All-Weather Urban Corridors are ‘rain or shine’ routes connecting one point to another. For example, a series of flood-free roads connecting sea ports to marketplaces will ensure that the price of fish sold in Iloilo’s public markets will not ridiculously spike each time it floods,” explains WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Programme Head Atty. Gia Ibay. “On the other hand, flood-free roads connecting the airport to Iloilo’s commercial areas makes it possible to do inter-island business despite heavy rains.”

 

Using All-Weather Urban Corridors, vehicles can efficiently travel under any weather condition. Properly connected, all-weather roads form a network of pathways. To generate detailed results coherent with the study’s objectives, secondary data from various agencies was utilized to analyze the extent of work needed for ground-truthing and fieldwork. Maps were generated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and utilized for fieldwork preparation, planning and analysis.

After drafting a series of smaller maps, a final map was created which includes all inputs and feedback from partner agencies, together with working assumptions on major transportation highways affecting the inflow and outflow of goods and services – connecting markets and ports, surrounding supply sources, plus planned development projects.

The study presented several corridor options, plus practical recommendations in dealing with floods, such as shifting development to high ground, investing in better drainage systems and retrofitting existing roads to weather stronger storms. The project is being supported by the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), a long-time ally of WWF for its Liga Para sa Klima workshops, which have successfully engaged 31 LGUs nationwide, including Iloilo City. Flooding was consistently identified by all participating LGUs as a major climate change issue, prompting the creation of the study.

Since 2012, Liga Para sa Klima has gathered community members from various sectors for collaborative workshops to discuss climate change issues and identify possible solutions. It has also been an excellent venue for local governments to share past accomplishments, plans and existing programs to address climate change.

A separate study conducted by WWF for Iloilo in 2011 shows that urbanization was the path the city was taking towards development. As such, the city will continuously become more and more dependent on outside sources for its food. Its four main sources of new investment are financing, real estate, insurance and business services. Therefore, it is critical for Iloilo to maintain good access via land, sea and air.

Adds WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, “Do not fear change – learn to embrace it. Roads are the lifelines of cities – keeping them operational ensures continuous economic growth in the face of climate change. We are hopeful that this study shall be used by other flood-prone Philippine provinces as a practical climate adaptation measure.”

“Look Into Renewable Energy as Solution to Power Crisis in 2015”–WWF

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Solar Panel by Gregg Yan & WWFPress Release:

With the Department of Energy’s warning of an impending power shortage in Luzon next year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reiterates its call for the Philippine government to more actively mainstream renewable energy (RE) solutions to meet the growing demand for electricity. With the country’s aim for enhanced national competitiveness through increased control over the supply and cost of power, RE must be integrated as the primary solution to the power development plan of the Philippines.

Wind Turbines by Gregg Yan & WWFBased on the current power situation, there is already an adequate supply of grid-connected base-load power plants. The predicted shortfall that the DOE has stated will mostly affect intermediate and peak loads. Thus, intermediate or peak power plants are required to address coming needs.

The conventional solution would be to inject more bunker or diesel power plants into the mix to meet demand. However, the average cost of power generated by such power plants starts at Php12 / kWh, making the cost of this electricity extremely expensive.

Peak demand periods for highly industrialized grids such as the Luzon grid, usually cover the period from 10AM to 2AM, when demand for electricity is at its highest. The optimal operating hours for certain RE options like solar correspond precisely with these periods of high demand. Relatively speaking, the installation of solar arrays takes much less time than large fossil-fuel dependent systems. They can certainly help augment power during intermediate and peak demand periods. Incidentally, this period is also called the ‘sunshine period’ for solar energy, when solar panels absorb and generate the most energy.

Other indigenous RE options like hydro and biomass can be used to complement existing base-load and intermediate power plants. This will help promote energy security, because the Philippines’ primary source of electricity is fossil-fuel, which the country has very little of. Over 70% of the electricity generated in the country comes from fossil-fuels, with 90% of fossil-fuels imported at varying prices from other nations.

“Our imbalanced reliance on foreign fossil-fuels makes doing business in the Philippines very risky. The cost and pace of national development is at the mercy of foreign interests. Energy security is going to be very important for the future of our country. Fossil-fuels are a finite and dwindling resource. Their emissions also exacerbate climate change, a needless aggravation. Do we really want to compete with larger countries like China and India for fossil-fuel resources on the world market? No, especially when we have abundant and readily available RE sources whose costs will remain stable, and well within our control,” says WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.

Renewable energy can provide a stable source of electricity at a constant price for years to come, especially with the implementation of the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) system. Under this system, RE projects are guaranteed a rate for the electricity they produce per kWh that will be held constant for the next 20 years, with the Energy Regulatory Commission doing periodic reviews to adjust the rate for foreign exchange and inflation. In contrast, not a single fossil-fuel dependent power project is ready to hold their prices for 10 years, not to mention that the cost of bunker and diesel-fired plants are even higher than solar and wind power FiT rates.

Even DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla stated in an interview that, “The FiT is a testament that while RE seems to be more expensive than traditional energy sources, admittedly it is needed because it is essential to the country’s energy security.”

This means that the price for electricity from RE can only ever go down – and will never increase. Add the fact that some RE plants can be directly embedded onto certain key areas, or economic zones, which will further reduce the cost of electricity because it will eliminate the need for transmission and possibly even distribution lines to deliver electricity from power plants to households. RE has also been given a 0% VAT rate unlike fossil-fuels, where VAT is applied to add to existing cost. In contrast, the International Energy Agency forecasts a steady increase in the cost of coal and other fossil-fuels over the next decade. This will increase the cost of living, plus the cost of doing business.

“If we are to address a power crisis within the timeframe of less than a year, then RE must really be viewed as the primary long-term solution. Solar and wind energy are the fastest power plants that can be deployed to meet this specific type of electricity demand. They offer a quick solution that can still be viewed as long term. In fact, solar power plants can take just six months to be constructed and go on-stream. These types of power plants will produce electricity at a constant rate that the Philippines can trust shall not fluctuate, unlike fossil-fuels which are affected by foreign exchange. In most cases, the cost of fossil-fuels is directly passed onto the consumer,” adds WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Programme Director Atty. Angela Ibay.

Based on the provisions of the RE Law of 2008, RE plants will only receive payment for actual electricity generated. This will eliminate the costly provisions of the past take-or-pay contracts that add stranded costs to the consumer’s electricity bill, regardless of whether that electricity was used or not.

The Philippines can actually learn from its own past experiences in RE to prove that it is the best solution to the country’s power needs. The Philippines invested heavily in hydro and geothermal energy in the 1970s and today, these produce 13.67% and 14.4% of our electricity, respectively. Many RE systems can be installed quickly. They produce electricity at a stable rate. They are de-coupled from foreign supply. They are also insulated from price increases dictated by international markets.

WWF is currently working with the DOE to conduct bottom-up, localized energy planning for the different provinces of the Philippines, starting with Palawan, as part of its Seize Your Power campaign. The experience has so far shown that optimal integration of RE into the power mix of a grid simply requires proper planning so that the variable nature of RE sources is well accounted for.

“We need to stop focusing on RE as simply a generation issue. It is actually a system operation issue. If the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, you can plan ahead and take that into account. We know more or less when that happens based on proper RE feasibility studies, and this is when you might run other technologies to compensate. When the sun shines or the wind blows, there is no need for diesel energy. Thus, we end up saving a lot of money. We shouldn’t be limited by such constraints. A proper energy plan just needs to be in place,” says WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Programme Communicator Christopher Ng, who is working on the Seize Your Power campaign in Palawan.

If emergency powers are granted to address the power crisis, RE must be seen as part of the solution. Adding RE to the grid under a proper, comprehensive long-term energy plan based on sound energy demand forecasting by the DOE must be the primary driver for the long-term energy security of the Philippines. Concludes Secretary Petilla, “In the long-term, we hope to develop systems in order for RE to compete toe-to-toe with traditional energy resources and eventually lower the cost of electricity.”