DOST backs R&D center for corn
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The Department of Science & Technology (DOST) Region 2 is pitching for the creation of a research and development (R&D) institution for corn.

Engineer Sancho Mabborang, DOST Region 2 regional director,  said the establishment of a proposed “Philippine Corn Research and Development Institute” or PhilCorn would boost the country’s production of corn.

“Corn is the second most important national food crop just behind rice. We have the Philrice or the Philippine Rice Research Institute despite us already being home to the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) but surprisingly, we do not have a PhilCorn or a RDI (R&D institution) specifically for corn,” Mabborang told The Star in a phone interview.

“We have figures showing that corn serves as the staple food of 20 percent of the Philippine population,” Mabborang said.

Corn is the main component of up to 75 percent of formulated feed for livestock, poultry and aquaculture fishery, he added.

Aside from PhilRice Mabborang said there are already R&D institutions for other major cash crops such as coconut, sugarcane, fiber, abaca, tobacco, root crops and livestock raising.

“But we don’t have one for corn,” Mabborang said.

The DOST Region 2 is lobbying for the creation of the proposed PhilCorn as the Cagayan Valley region is the top corn producing region with Isabela, recognized by the Department of Agriculture as the corn capital of the Philippines.

Mabborang said with Isabela dominating in corn raising and production, the proposed PhilCorn should have its principal office in the province, particularly at the Isabela State University or the CVResearch Consortium-Department of Agriculture.

However, the instutute could set up other offices or nranches or satellite offices in any other areas suitable corn framing.

The creation of the body is seen to require a start-up funding of just about P400 million.

The proposed PhilCorn is envisioned to unify, coordinate, fund, implement, and strengthen all national and farm-level efforts on RDE (R&D, and extension) for corn, and corn-based farming systems.

The proposed institute is also seen to hasten technology sharing activities to improve the livelihood of resource-poor farming communities and empower them to cope with low yields.

It can also ensure adequate and stable supply of quality corn products for domestic and foreign markets.

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