Sunday, January 28, 2018

DA allots P500 M for rice-corn blend

The Department of Agriculture (DA) plans to spend at least half a billion pesos to facilitate the entry of the rice-corn blend in the local market.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the agency has committed an initial P50 million to the Philippine Maize Federation (PhilMaize).

“We will start entering the commercial markets in the second quarter. For this year, our target is to infuse 500,000 metric tons of corn component into our staple food supply and that should effectively cover whatever shortage we have in grains,” Piñol said.
As part of the Marawi rehabilitation, the DA is developing 10,000 hectares of white corn farms in Lanao.

The DA will also ensure the availability of quality corn seeds and provide capacity building, farm mechanization equipment, and post-harvest facilities.

The rice-corn blend will be available in NFA outlets in Metro Manila and in major supermarkets including SM, Rustan’s and Robinson’s.  It will be priced lower than the average retail price of rice.

The average price of regular-milled rice is P36 per kilogram.

PhilMaize, on the other hand, will supply quality rice-corn blend.

Last year, domestic consumption of rice reached 12.9 million metric tons (MT) while production was only 11.5 million MT or a shortfall of 1.4 million MT.

The local industry is promoting the rice-corn blend as a health food because corn has a lower calorie and carbohydrate content compared to rice.

Studies also showed that corn contains more vitamins, minerals, and proteins than white rice.  Blending the two will give more nutritional benefits to consumers.

One in five Filipinos eats white corn grits as staple food next to rice.

In the Zamboanga Peninsula alone, the per capita consumption of corn at 160 kilograms is higher than the national per capita consumption of rice at 110 kg.

Corn was considered as a “poor man’s rice” in the 1960s when rice shortage forced many Filipinos to eat inferior rice mixed with rough corn grits.

Approximately one-third of Filipino farmers, or 1.8 million individuals, depend on corn as their major source of livelihood.


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