Waste not, want not
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
A report from the International Rice Research Institute says that Filipinos waste at least $535,000 or P23 million worth of rice every day. In its Rice Today report, the IRRI said that the daily rice wastage of the country translates to at least $223 million a year, enough to feed 4.3 million people.
Citing data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology, IRRI says that each Filipino wastes an average of three tablespoons or 9 grams or rice daily, equal to 3.3 kilos per year. Rice is wasted when too much is cooked but not consumed and consequently left to spoil and be thrown away. “With 94 million and nine grams of wasted rice per day, the total wastage is 308,000 tons, 36 percent of the 2011 rice imports”, IRRI said.
Rice wastage varies in the different regions and social classes of the country. Those from Luzon waste more rice at 16 grams per capita while Visayas and Mindanao have a daily rice wastage of 12 grams per capita. IRRI also says that middle income families waste more rice compared to those with lower income.
Many of us may think nothing of the last three tablespoons of rice left uneaten on the plate or the few scoops or rice left in the pot but once you look at it from a broader perspective, the amount of rice we collectively throw away as a country is nothing short of worrying. This is a perfect example of how small and seemingly insignificant things can add up into a huge problem when multiplied by a factor of almost a hundred million. The good thing about this problem is that a solution is as easy as the government somehow finding a way to educate and convince a majority of the population to be more discerning when it comes to rice usage and wastage.
If more of us would only exert more effort in reducing rice wastage by cooking the right amount during mealtimes, consuming what is on the plate, and saving leftovers that can be reheated or served as fried rice for future meals, then we wouldn't have to need so much rice and we might even have enough left for the hungry in our country.*