NABUA CAMARINES SUR. Touted as “poor man’s rice” for decades, white corn grits is now being considered as an important substitute for rice. In line with this, an orientation/training on white corn grits production was conducted by the Department of Agriculture Bicol through the Corn Program on February 8 at this municipality.

The activity aimed to promote the many uses of white corn grits blended with rice as an alternative food for every Filipino and to discuss the latest technology on corn production . Aside from its low glycemic index , white corn grits has a wide array of health benefits. It is rich in minerals, fiber, folate, iron,zinc, magnesium and has a moderate content of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

With the recent declaration of rice shortage in some regions, Lorenzo Alvina, Agricultural Center Chief II and Regional Corn Coordinator challenged at least 27 Agricultural Extension Workers, Corn Farmers & Local Government Coordinators to work closely on the expansion and development of corn areas and the massive campaign for quality white corn production . He said that the Corn program is targeting 30,000 hectares for white & yellow Corn in Bicol this 2018. He added that support and interventions will be extended by the DA to the key players and corn farmers.

Topics discussed were: Corn health Benefits; Corn Production; Marketing Scheme & Linkages . Resource speakers were: Edgardo Nacario, Corn Focal Person, ATI R-5 ; Nemesio Escobinas, NTE Feedmill; Bert Puncia , Arrow Feeds; Marly Corporal, AT Iriga City and Ailene Babelonia , Corn & Cassava technical staff.

Bert Puncia from Arrow feeds shared that he owns a canteen in one of the Universities in Bicol. For years, they served rice mixed with white corn grits to students. “hindi nahalata ng mga costumers na mayroong halong corn grits ang kanin, kahit paano may dagdag sustansya ang kinakain nila” ( their costumers never noticed the mixture and unconsciously, had a share of its healthful benefits) he said. The ratio is 30% corn grits and 70% rice. (B. Nunez)