Picture of Ladylyn Jose
Adlay sprouts as new healthy food staple
by Ladylyn Jose - Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 11:54 AM
www.philstar.com: July 24, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – A better appreciation of adlay as a traditional food staple in the country, alongside rice and corn, was set in motion in 2010 when the Department of Agriculture  developed a research and development (R&D) program to explore the potential of adlay.

 The Bureau of Agricultural Research, which pioneered this initiative, presented a breakthrough in adlay R&D in 2011 by conducting adaptability yield trials  in selected regions across the country. This was carried out through collaborative partnerships with various government and non-government organizations. The trials were completed  by all regions in 2014  following full cropping cycles.

 Adlay is an indigenous crop that comes from the family Poaceae or the grasses, where wheat, corn, and rice belong. It is often referred to as “Job’s Tears,” as its grains resemble a tear-like shape. A tall-grain bearing tropical plant, its stem grows from three  to nearly 10 feet tall, with sword-shaped leaves. Grains are usually harvested five to six months after sowing, which can thrive for two cropping seasons both wet and dry.

The trial results show that adlay performs best in higher elevation but can also thrive in lower elevation preferably during the wet season. It can be planted as hedgerows and can also be intercropped with fruit trees and plantation crops such as coconut, banana, citrus, mango, and coffee.

Although adlay is resistant to pest and diseases and can be grown as a pesticide-free crop, it responds well to organic fertilizers.

Pulot, gulian, tapul, and ginampay are the four known local varieties of adlay. 
Following the success of the yield trials, BAR has been supporting a total of 51 projects as of February 2015 which are implemented by the DA regional field offices, state universities and colleges, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).

To ensure national food security, adlay seeds are being increased for production, distribution, promotion, and further research. Various production technologies and post-harvest mechanizations were likewise developed including a modified rice-thresher for adlay, and a micro-milling machine.

Another noteworthy accomplishment under the R&D program is the rise of adlay champion products such as  gourmix.

Developed by researchers in the Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC) in Ilagan, Isabela, gourmix is a health food made up of adlay grits, turmeric, ginger, malunggay powder, ground mungbean, soybean, white corn grits, and rice. It is currently  being used in various feeding programs of public and private groups.

Other well-known adlay products include adlay breakfast cereal, wine, polvoron, puto,champorado, and coffee, among others.

With these  products, BAR commissioned UA&P to conduct a market research for adlay to determine its acceptability in the market, and come up with a marketing plan both for adlay grains and processed products. The highlights of the results consist of a high percentage on the potential buyers of adlay which can be over 80 percent despite its low public awareness. 

Adlay also got a positive nod from the respondents in terms of its processed products. 

According to a chemical analysis released by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in 2011, adlay is superior in terms of its food energy content (365 kcal), carbohydrate content (73.9 g), protein (12.8 g), and fat (1.0 g) compared to rice and corn.  

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