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Agri Nurture to go into white corn production
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Tuesday, 31 May 2011, 06:07 PM
GMA NEWS Online; 05/31/2011 | 04:25 PM

Agri Nurture Inc. (ANI) on Tuesday said it is investing P80 million in white corn production to help increase the output for food sufficiency.

“We want to demystify the traditional perception that white corn is only for the poor. It is widely accepted as staple by the Visayas-Mindanao population, so why not for the rest of the country," said company CEO Antonio Tiu.

Production will be expanded after the company tapped into 1,000 hectares of corn farms in the Calabarzon. Nearly P50 million will be used to buy seeds and fertilizer for the plantation.

The company has invested P20 million to P30 million to build a grain-to-grit corn mill and will introduce Fresh Choice Always white corn this July.

ANI will be marketing white corn as a healthy alternative for diabetics since its low glycolic index and fibers allows the release of glucose into the body at a much slower rate than rice.

The Agriculture Department is expecting other companies to follow ANI’s decision to go into white corn production as part of the plan to support palay output.

“This is ANI's drive to help the government solve the food shortage problem by offering substitutes to rice," Tiu added.

Seed propagation

The department has allotted over P40 million for seed propagation, particularly that of the high-yielding open-pollinated white corn variety created by the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB)- University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture.

Another P35 million will go to the department’s regional offices to finance the production of white corn seeds over five years.

IPB deputy director and National Corn Research, Development, and Extension Network head Dr. Artemio Salazar explained that the department needs private companies to invest in white corn to reach all market levels.

“After all, nutritious food should be for all," he said.

Salazar added that the UP Los Baños Institute of Human Nutrition and Food is also pushing for white corn as a main ingredient in champorado, lugaw (korngee), coffee, fritters, pulboron, pastillas, espasol, suman, hotcake, turon, maruya, and as a rice blend. — (BC/VS, GMA News)

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