Latest Stories

DA to promote white corn to ease demand for rice


MANILA, Philippines—For those in urban areas and in many parts of the Philippines, corn may not compare to rice as the food of choice. But the Department of Agriculture (DA) said urbanites should not turn up their noses on the grain because of its health benefits and its potential to help the country attain food security.

The DA said on Sunday it has stepped up the production of low-glycemic white corn seedlings to encourage more Filipinos to include it in their diet to ease the demand on rice, the country’s main staple.

According to the DA, it will provide P7 million yearly in the next five years to the Institute of Plant Breeding-University of the Philippines in Los Baños (IPB-UPLB) to produce white corn seedlings.

The IPB, which has received a total of P40 million from the DA in the past, has been propagating the high-yielding corn variety called IPB Var 6.

IPB Var 6 gives a yield that is nearly comparable to commercial white corn hybrid. Based on the national corn testing, the yield of IPB Var 6 in Luzon was at an average of 5.84 metric tons (MT) per hectare; 5.45 MT per hectare in the Visayas; and 4.47 MT per hectare in Mindanao.

The DA has been promoting white corn as an alternative or extender to rice. According to the DA, Filipinos’ rice consumption has been increasing significantly over the years. Data from the agency said Filipinos have each been consuming about 120 kilos of rice annually.

Since the country cannot produce rice enough for national consumption, the government has been importing rice from abroad to fill in buffer stocks and keep prices stable.

This year, the country imported about 860,000 metric tons of rice to ensure food security. Some 200,000 metric tons of it was imported by the National Food Authority from Vietnam at about P4 billion. The rest was brought in by the private sector.

According to DA, only about 20 percent of Filipinos in the Visayas and Mindanao eat white corn as main staple. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who has called on Filipinos to mix corn and rice, and other agriculture officials said this number should rise as white corn would be more beneficial than rice.

“Ultimately, this will lessen demand for rice. Just by increasing demand for corn, and we can definitely grow it productively and cheaply, we would no longer have to import rice. This is actually a part of the DA plan,” said Dr. Artemio M. Salazar, UPLB-IPB deputy director and National Corn RDE (Research, Development, and Extension) Network head.

Salazar said those in urban areas should think about including white corn in their diet.

Unlike rice, white corn has low glycemic index (GI). Low GI makes white corn slower to digest thereby releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, thus lessening the risk of diabetes.

“Later on we’ll turn this over to the private sector because there is a big demand for it since many Filipinos are now diabetics. And this is the perfect food for diabetics,” said Salazar. Diabetes is now a top degenerative disease and a major cause of death in the Philippines.

Aside from giving consumers the health benefits, white corn will impact significantly in reducing hunger and malnutrition in the uplands. Corn, unlike rice, is also easier to grow and less capital-intensive.

“You don’t need capital-intensive irrigation facilities because corn grows whereever there is rain. The only other thing we have to provide them is the corn mill,” he added.

Salazar said the UPLB has developed a mini-corn mill that is cheaper than the high-capacity machines available in the market.

The mill would be perfect for barrios, he said, as it could process 100 kilos of corn grains per hour. At such capacity, a continuous eight-hour milling produces enough food for more than 1,000 people, assuming 300 grams of consumption per day, Salazar said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Agriculture , corn , Food , Government , Philippines , rice

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  • Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  • Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  • Tagle: Hope comes with warning on Easter
  • New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  • Sports

  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Rain or Shine drops Ginebra in big hole
  • Ateneo whips CSB; Davao debuts with win over FEU
  • PH pug Hipolito Banal decisions Colombian in Aiba
  • Former Pacquiao sparmate Porter keeps IBF title
  • Lifestyle

  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Korean animation comes of age
  • Entertainment

  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace