Portugal is working on producing rice with a low-glycemic index, perfect for diabetics and for people trying to control their weight.
Says Correio da Manhã this morning, “the government is working on a project that will see the development of this kind of rice”.
A source from the ministry of agriculture told the paper: “There is the feeling we need a rice with determined characteristics destined for the growing sector of the market concerned about the control of obesity and diabetes”.
The €591,000 project is in the hands of the country’s Catholic Universities of Porto and the Minho, as well as the national institute of agricultural and veterinary investigation.
Once ready to move forwards, it should reduce the country’s level of rice-seed importation, says CM.
It is only in the very small print of the story that one spies the ‘dreaded word’ “genetic” – not “genetically modified” but “genetically enhanced”. Thus, the way ahead for this revolutionary brand of rice is unlikely to be smooth.
In a reduced box story, CM explains that the national programme for genetically enhancing rice began in 2003 and is a “process that takes 12 years before obtaining results”.
Tests involved include “the kinetics of rice digestion in the dynamic gastrointestinal system, as well as the morphological study of starch granules in different phases of digestion”.
Rice production in Portugal is centred round the estuaries of the Sado, Tejo and Mondego rivers and involves around 1500 producers, responsible for around 160,000 tons of rice per year.
The country has the highest per capita consumption of rice in Europe.