NABUA CAMARINES SUR. As a strategy to raise awareness on the benefits of Rice Corn blend, the Department of Agriculture Bicol thru the Agribusiness & Marketing Division (AMAD) conducted a one day forum at a business center here.

More than 30 selected Municipal Agriculturists, Municipal Development Officers/Nutritionists and Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) participated in the said activity. The meeting is called to promote food staple sufficiency while providing healthier option particularly to diabetic persons.

According to Julieta Casaul, Professor & Health Food Testing Laboratory Head of Central Bicol University of Agriculture (CBSUA), the social notion that rice corn blend is a poor man’s staple hinders the acceptance of the consumers to patronize the said blend. “We can all work together to educate the consuming public of its health benefits and introduce it to the local market” she said. “The glycemic index in rice is 73%, corn has only 53% and contains poly unsaturated fat which is good for the heart” she continued.

The Corn Program Staff also gave updates on Rice Corn Blend and Corn & Cassava Program Implementation. The DA is pushing the utilization and consumption of the Rice Corn Blend to address poverty and reduce rice consumption. Rice Corn Blend is packed in 3 variants or ratio which are 70:30, 40:40 & 50:50 for consumers to choose from. . Engr. Earl Rafael Labilad from DA- PhilMech discussed the latest technology in Rice Corn Blend Preparation. “It is not due to poverty that we will consume the said blend but it is for health and wellness” he said.

Bert Puncia of Arrow Feeds shared that six years ago, aside from other health issues he was also diagnosed as diabetic. When he started  introducing corn grits to the market as part of his business, he experimented on blending 70% rice with 30% corn grits and  has been consuming it for more than a   half -decade. He later noticed upon regular check-up that his high blood sugar level dramatically dropped to normal. He is now promoting the consumption of the Rice Corn Blend. “kapag dumagdag kayo ng corn grits sa kanin dagdagan nyo din ang tubig para maganda ang resulta. I highly recommend the 70:30 ratio kasi hindi halata na may halong mais ang bigas pag kinain” he said.  He challenged the DA to massively implement the propagation and production of white corn to widen its market and boost income of farmers. (B. Nunez)