Government to test rice-corn blend in PH


In order to reduce the country’s dependency on rice imports, the government now wants to see if rice-corn blend could work in the Philippine market as it lays down strategies on how to market corn as an alternative staple to rice.

The National Food Authority (NFA) is collaborating with the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. (Philmaize), the umbrella organization of corn growers across the country, for a taste survey of rice-corn blend to make it part of the mainstream Filipino diet.

Aside from its health benefits, higher consumption of corn could also mean savings of precious dollars for the Philippine government.

“By merely substituting rice with 10 percent corn grits, we would already solve our annual rice production shortage. Corn is also a more versatile crop that can be produced year-round even under marginal environments,” NFA administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino said. Called “Acceptability of the Different Rice-Corn Blends,” the survey shall determine the acceptability of rice-corn blend among a cross-section of Filipino consumers.

It will be undertaken during the 13th Philippine National Corn Congress on November 22 to 24 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

“Results of the taste survey could help us strategize on how to market corn as an alternative staple to rice or as rice extender. This could eventually wean our country away from importing the shortfall in our annual rice production,” Aquino said.

In 2016, domestic consumption of rice was placed at 12.9 million metric tons (MMT) while production was only 11.5 MMT or a deficit of 1.4 MMT.

Thus, the country keeps on resorting to importation to boost buffer stock. The highest rice importations were recorded in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 at 2.570 MMT, 2.6 MMT and 2.2 MMT, respectively.

As of now, only one out of five Filipinos eats white corn grits as staple food next to rice. For instance, the per capita consumption of corn in the Zamboanga Peninsula is 159.924 kilogram, higher than the national per capita consumption of rice at 109.874 kg.

“The rice-corn blend is being promoted as a health food because corn has lower calorie and carbohydrate content compared to rice. Studies show that corn also contains more vitamins, minerals and proteins than white rice. Blending the two would therefore give greater nutritional benefits to the consumer,” Aquino further said.

Yellow corn is also the main ingredient in the country’s livestock and poultry feeds. About one-third of Filipino farmers, or 1.8 million, depend on corn as their major source of livelihood.


Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult