Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Edwin Paraluman working on his farm in Mindanao, Philippines.

My First "Golden" Harvest: A Rice Farmer in the Philippines Tells His Story

April 14, 2011

I am a farmer in the Philippines, in the southern province of Mindanao. Children in my community, like my grandson, receive important health check-ups that sometimes include regular vitamin A supplements.

These are important programs for everybody. But I look forward to the day when a Golden Rice harvest from my own fields can help keep these precious kids healthy and happy.

I grow corn and rice—and also produce rice seed for other farmers in my area. I do a lot of work with other farmers. Our national, regional, and provincial farmers groups in the Philippines involve associations of all kinds and the cooperatives that help us help each other.

We ask tough questions of our rice scientists and the seed companies to make sure we have safe, healthy, and profitable crops to grow. In the Philippines we are very fortunate to have a government that supports new technology and many good scientists that are helping to solve our problems with pests and diseases. From what I know about Golden Rice, it should meet our needs very well since it is being developed by our own Philippines Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) using the number one variety: PSB Rc-82.

Some of the farmers I meet with grow corn and rice, others grow vegetables. Some follow organic agriculture while others like to use a combination of traditional and new agriculture techniques. I’ve even had the honor of meeting farmers from other countries around Asia and even Africa. What all of us farmers have in common is a dream to see our crops feed our families, communities, and our country—with healthy food.

We Filipinos depend on rice as our staple food—as we say, “Rice is life!” So Golden Rice will be of great help for us, and we will be assured of vitamin A in our diet. I am proud to know that we in the Philippines may have the privilege of growing the first Golden Rice—and then to share it with the rest of the world.

Note: This is Edwin Paraluman’s story, as told to IRRI.

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