ANI inks MOA with PITC for rice-corn blend

AgriNurture Inc. (ANI), the listed agriculture firm controlled by businessman Antonio Tiu, is collaborating with the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) for the importation of raw materials for its healthier and more affordable “BigMa” (Bigas-Mais or rice-corn) blend.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ANI said it signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with PITC last Wednesday. PITC is government's import-export arm under the Department of Trade and Industry.

Through its contract growers, ANI said it will produce local corn which will be blended with rice to include “BigMa” in its growing portfolio of food products.

The firm said “BigMa" is a unique, low-glycemic rice-corn blend rich in dietary fiber. It is touted as a healthier staple-food alternative for Filipinos.

“With the production of BigMa, ANI can help reduce carbon footprint and conserve our water resources since corn needs less water to grow,” Tiu said.

He added that, “It will also provide more livelihood to local corn farmers and help the country achieve food sufficiency, while providing a healthier and affordable option to the public.”

As more consumers grow accustomed to BigMa, he said the brand’s market introduction will be a big boost to local corn production. He noted that rice-corn blend has been a staple food in Visayas and Mindanao.

Now on its 23rd year, ANI is a major export of agricultural products, supplying home-grown fruits like mango, banana, pineapple and coconut products to global institutional buyers and supermarket chains. 

The company reported a net attributable income of P357 million in the first 9 months of 2020, up 404 percent compared to the P70.7 million reported a year ago. In the second quarter alone, ANI's income grew P325.3 million, up from P25.7 million last year. 

ANI's recurring income grew due to robust domestic sales across supermarket chains in the Philippines and in the US mainland. 

Other income likewise increased by P281.25 million as a result of a restatement of brand valuation for its subsidiary "The Big Chill, Inc." which recently launched its plant based ice cream line and is currently working on a potential listing in a major foreign exchange as it will commence the new plant based meat substitute products globally under the brand name "Fit Bites”. Moving forward, ANI is introducing more healthier food substitutes in the market.