President Rody Duterte’s endorsement of the Blended Rice and Corn as a national staple food on December 22 in Davao City will not only offer an healthier option for the Filipino consumer but will finally erase the image of Corn as a poor man’s “rice.”
More than that, the acceptance by Filipino consumers of the Blended Rice and Corn or Bigas-Mais will finally end the country’s dependence on imported rice to fill up the shortfall on the rice requirements of the Philippines.
The Presidential endorsement will actually be the proverbial “hitting four birds with one stone” because it will accomplish the following:
1. Provide a healthier option to Filipino consumers with Low Glycemic and non-GMO corn, especially in the face of worsening health problems caused by diabetes;
2. Make available a more affordable staple food because two kilos of vacuum-packed Blended Rice and Corn is set to be sold in the market at no more than P35 per kilo, compared to about P50 per kilo for white rice;
3. Create a new and huge market for Corn farmers in the country who are facing stiff competition from imported corn and wheat;
4. End the country’s rice supply shortfall with the infusion in 2019 of about 500,000-metric tons of corn grits and 1-million metric tons in 2020, thus effectively achieving food staple sufficiency for only the second time in the history of the country.
The Philippines rice supply shortfall was placed at about 500,000-metric tons, a figure that is expected to be greatly reduced this year because of the record paddy rice harvest of 19.4-million metric tons.
Last Monday, Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who handles Agribusiness and Marketing, met with officials of the PhilMaize Foundation, the federation of corn farmers’ groups, and the National Food Authority (NFA) to finalize the Dec. 22 launching by President Duterte of the Blended Rice and Corn or Bigas-Mais.
Representatives of the country’s large supermarket chains like Ayala Abreeza Malls, SM Supermarket, Rustan’s, Robinson’s, PureGold and others are also expected to join the launching.
The “Bigas-Mais” blend will also be offered to the public initially in the NFA outlets in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Baguio and other big cities.
During the launching which is expected to be attended by Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, Manny Pacquiao, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and business tycoons like Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Sabin Aboitiz and Lance Gokongwei, the Blended Rice and Corn or “Bigas-Mais” Mix will be served in an early dinner hosted by the Department of Agriculture.
The photos and videos of the President, Senators and the “rich and the famous” partaking of the “Bigas-Mais” are expected to erase once and for all the image that corn is only for the poor and the “cargador.”
(Image of the event invitation for the Dec. 22 launching of the Blended Rice and Corn from the Office of Agribusiness and Marketing Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat while the other photos of corn were downloaded from public websites.)