PhilMaize to start selling rice-corn blend in 2018

Corn growers belonging to the Philippine Maize Federation (PhilMaize) are targeting to sell 30,000 metric tons (MT) of rice-corn blend next year, according to the National Corn Competitiveness Board (NCCB).

NCCB Executive Vice Chairman and former PhilMaize Chairman Emeritus Roderico R. Bioco said corn growers are keen on testing the market to determine the product’s acceptability. The National Food Authority (NFA) will help distribute the rice-corn blend.

Bioco added that the group would first roll out a 50-50 blend—half of the mix is comprised of rice, while the remaining would consist of either yellow or white corn.

“We would probably start with a smaller volume of 30,000 MT next year, which is based on the ability of the NFA to push this product to its institutional clients,” Bioco told reporters in a news briefing during the 13th Philippine National Corn Congress held in Pasay City on Wednesday.

“The demand is bigger than 30,000 MT but we are looking at it more conservatively. And we still do not know what will be the acceptable blend, that’s why were conducting a taste test, but it is safe to say that 50-50 [blend] is the way to go,” Bioco added.

The NCCB official, however, acknowledged that consuming corn grains is an “acquired taste.”

“Marketing the rice-corn blend to people in Cebu, Dumaguete and Leyte would probably not pose a problem. We told the government to focus on areas where corn is not normally consumed, such as in Bicol, Central Luzon and Northern Luzon,” said Bioco.

He said corn growers are planning to sell the rice-corn blend at “a little below” than the regular retail price of rice. The average retail price of regular-milled rice is P36 per kilogram, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“We want to encourage its consumption but we also do not want to sell it too cheap as it could be seen as a very inferior product,” Bioco added.

Bioco said PhilMaize has decided to go into selling rice-corn blend to complement efforts of the government to achieve rice self-sufficiency and avoid the importation of the staple.

Dr. Wilma A. Hurtada of the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, College of Human Ecology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) said consuming more corn than rice would be good for one’s health as it provides more nutrients.

“Corn has more dietary fiber, which helps prevent stunting among Filipino children,” Hurtada said.

“Also, corn contains high amylose which gives an intermediate glycemic index when eaten. Meaning, it will not release fast glucose into the blood if you eat corn more than eating white rice, thus, reducing any individual’s risk of having diabetes mellitus,” she added.

However, Hurtada recommended that rice and corn should be sold separately. She also said the consumption of more corn should also be promoted.

The rice-corn blend was developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding of the UPLB to promote the consumption of white corn.