Wednesday, October 14, 2015

DA offers Php8-M awards in search of RICEponsible champions
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is offering over Php8 million in prizes for winners in its ongoing national search for RICEponsible Champions.

The search is an initiative to encourage government organizations (GOs), local government units (LGUs) and higher education institutions (HEIs) to have their own “Be RICEponsible” campaign in order to promote the non-wastage of rice and the consumption of healthier rice in their own areas.

The competition will honor top three champions in each category which will receive prizes in the form of grants and cash worth up to Php1 million.

The search has three major categories -- GOs; LGUs with provincial, municipal and city sub-categories; and public and private HEIs.

Each category should be composed of at least 10 participants and must achieve at least 50-percent awareness, of which 50 percent must have at least one behavior change.

Each office can be represented by either a unit, division or affiliate like canteen, office or school organization, but only one competitor can represent the office or branch.

Judging of entries will be based on Content Packaging and Visibility of Materials (15 percent); Creativity and Innovativeness (10 percent); Effectiveness in Creating Awareness (20 percent); Effectiveness in Creating Behavior Change (35 percent); Sustainability (15 percent); and Presentation (five percent).

For GOs, the champion will receive Php500,000 while the second and third prize winners will receive Php350,000 and Php250,000, respectively.

For LGUs, the provincial, city and municipal champions will each receive Php1 million while the second and third prize winners will each receive Php500,000 and Php300,000, respectively.

For HEIs, the winners will receive same cash amounts as for the LGU winners.

Interested institutions can use any activity, affair, event, strategy or information material to promote the campaigns based on these 4Ks basic messages: Konti-konting kanin muna para walang matira; Kumain ng brown (unpolished) rice; Kakaibang kanin naman (consumption of rice mixed with other staples; and Kilalanin at pasalamatan ang mga magsasaka sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahalaga sa bawat butil ng kanin.

The contest aims to encourage GOs, LGUs and HEIs to promote responsible rice consumption through an in-house or local campaign -- to promote better health through healthier rice, lessen rice wastage and boost farmers’ morale that will altogether contribute in the achievement of rice self-sufficiency in the country.

The DA Bicol regional office based in Pili, Camarines Sur said in a statement reaching here Tuesday that the contest period started last Aug. 1 and will end on July 31, 2016 with a report of the contestants’ activities and strategies, detailing the range of the campaign reach either in scrapbook, video, or narrative forms.

The deadline for the submission of reports is on Aug. 31, 2016, after which a post-evaluation site visit will be conducted in September and October 2016.

All winners will receive a plaque, a RICEponsible seal, and the equivalent prizes in the form of grants that will sustain the Be RICEponsible advocacy.

Awarding will be held in November 2016 during the National Rice Awareness Month.

Taking off from the National Year of Rice 2013, the Be RICEponsible is an advocacy campaign that aims to promote the responsibility of every Filipino to their bodies and to our country involving rice production and consumption, DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas said in the statement.

The campaign informs everybody, particularly the consumers, on how they can help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency, Bragas explained, adding that to be RICEponsible, “a consumer does not waste even a single grain of rice, eat brown rice and rice mixed with other staples, and appreciate our rice farmers by thanking them literally or valuing the fruits of their labor.”

A farmer can also be RICEponsible by way of planting rice and adopting recommended technologies to increase his farm’s yield and income, according to Bragas.

A policy-maker, to be RICEponsible, on the other hand, can help institutionalize the availability and default serving of half cup of rice to prevent wastage and give consumers more options or help promote the production and serving of healthier rice such as regular milled rice, brown rice, and rice mixed with other staples.

The search for RICEponsible National Champions, Bragas said, is being carried out by the DA and its Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) which is a chartered government entity that helps develop high-yielding, cost-reducing, and environment-friendly technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. (PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/EDS