Corn program to support local agri workers, improve yield

Local farmers and livestock workers will soon benefit from the sustainable corn development program to be launched by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as part of the government's food security commitment.

Corn (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

In a bid to ensure sufficient food grains, the agriculture department is now gearing up to implement a production development plan for the Philippine corn industry that will benefit the livestock, poultry, and dairy sectors, and ensure sustainable and sufficient food grains.

"The Department of Agriculture, under the leadership of the President, is set to launch its sustainable corn breeding program this year to develop yellow corn varieties to support farmers’ demand for location-specific and affordable varieties for animal feeds," the DA said in a statement.

"The program will strengthen the development of yellow corn varieties with improved yield potential of five to six tons per hectare, and improved drought and disease tolerance. These varieties will also have enriched protein content," it added.

The program also aims to ensure supply of quality breeder seeds for certified seed production of seed growers.

"The corn development initiative, to be undertaken through the Regional Field Office Cagayan Valley, in coordination with the National Corn Program, Bureau of Agricultural Research, and the Agricultural Training Institute, will also develop open-pollinated white corn varieties for food staple and food processing," it was disclosed.

As of 2020, the Cagayan Valley Research Center has developed 18 open-pollinated varieties (OPV) corn varieties approved and accredited by the National Seed Industry Council.

"Through the implementation of this sustainable corn breeding program, at least two varieties are expected to be commercialized in two years," the DA noted.

"The Cagayan Valley region is a key growing area of yellow corn production in the country, contributing 31 percent of the total national production in 2021. Analysis of the cost structure of yellow corn reveals high production costs, forcing the local industry to rely on imported genetically-modified corn hybrid seeds, which guarantee high yield. However, attainment of potential yield from these corn hybrids requires high fertilizer usage. As such, some farmers resort to the use of OPV, which entails lesser capital and reduced potential crop failure," the agency's statement went on.