DA steps up support for corn farmers in region 9

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By Franklin P. Gumapon (FPG/PIA9)

PAGADIAN CITY (PIA) - Reeling from the adverse effects of the dry spell wrought by El Niño phenomenon, the corn farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula can now avail themselves of the different programs extended by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to improve their produce this planting season.

In a press conference held here Tuesday, a team from DA-9 told the press that the DA would assist the corn farmers through its programs such as seed exchange, soils analysis, provision of farm implements/machineries and vertical dryers as well as training on the latest corn production techniques for farmers.

DA-9 is now intensifying its help to the corn farmers in the region after losing 9,500 metric tons of corn production or some P130 million to El Niño.

“Throughout the region the affected farmers account for 9,622 covering 7,300 hectares,” Ray Anthony M. Credo, DA-9 El Niño focal person reported.

Moreover, Engr. Tessy Montano, regional corn reports officer, disclosed that Zamboanga del Sur is one of the top 10 corn-producing provinces in the country and its corn-producing towns are San Miguel, Dinas, Dumingag, Mahayag, Molave and Aurora including Pagadian City.

As the dry spell is decaying and the rains start visiting the region, the farmers have already started planting corn especially in upland areas.

The major corn varieties grown in the area are white corn for human consumption and yellow corn for animal feeds.

Dried white corn grains ground into grits are a staple of people from Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and some natives of Mindanao. A cup of cooked corn grits contains 182 calories and one gram of fat, which is good for those who want to lose weight as they get a full feeling without consuming excessive fat calories.

Corn grits have a low glycemic index, a measurement on carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on one’s blood sugar.