Rice-corn mix to be sold in Metro markets
To lessen Filipinos’ dependence on rice as a staple, the government will be rolling out a program that will incorporate corn in the country’s food supply starting this year.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an interview that the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) would make available a rice-corn mix in the market—a 50-50 blend made of rice and white corn grits.
The new grain variety is expected to provide a healthier food option for Filipinos, tone down pressure for the country to import more rice and provide support to local corn growers.
“NFA and DA were directed to form a technical working group that would draft the rice and corn mix production, procurement and distribution,” said Piñol. “By the end of this year, we will already introduce the blend to the market.”
The proposal was supposed to be rolled out early this year, but it hit a snag after the agencies had difficulty transferring the funds to its private-sector partner. Piñol said this has been ironed out.
Both agencies are looking to use about 50,000 metric tons of white corn in its initial stage, to be piloted in Metro Manila. A kilo of rice-corn mix will be sold between P36 to P38.
Philippine Rice Research Institute deputy executive director Roger Barroga recommended the use of corn as an alternative to rice as a main source of carbohydrates.
“Since our body digests corn longer, the release of energy would also be slower than when we eat rice,” he said. “It also contains more fiber, which can help prevent stunting among children.”
“The only problem is, there is a social notion that if you eat rice-corn blend, you are poor. We are trying to remove that perception. Rice and corn are equally good so the latter is a good alternative staple. It is even cheaper and will lessen our rice imports,” he added.
The agriculture chief said that while consumers from the regions of Visayas and Mindanao were used to eating corn, they were hoping that consumers in areas where corn was not normally consumed like in Metro Manila, Bicol, Central Luzon and Northen Luzon, would be open to try the new staple variety.
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