Posted 26 August 2011, by Perseus Echeminada, The Philippine Star (PhilStar), philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture is eyeing the large scale farming of “Aglay,” an ancient wild plant that bears a “miracle grain” and which has been a major source of food and native wine among Mindanao tribal folk since olden times.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told reporters during a news forum in Quezon City yesterday that he has directed field offices in Mindanao to start propagating Aglay seeds for large scale farming as alternative source of grains in the country.
Aglay is similar to corn but instead of ears it has white shiny grains like rosary beads that turn hard when ripe for harvest. It can be ground for flour, fermented for wine or boiled like corn to serve as alternative meal.
Alcala said initial study showed that Aglay thrives even during drought and can be planted any time of the year.
“Aglay can be an alternative food source,” Alcala said.
Alcala made the announcement as he assured the public that rice and corn production have reached unprecedented yields in the first semester despite the onslaught of several typhoons.
He said the good harvest was attributed to the immediate response of the government in providing farmers in typhoon-devastated areas the needed assistance so that they can immediately replant their crops.
He also said that at least 860,000 metric tons of imported rice have already arrived and 200,000 MT are allocated for typhoon-affected areas.
He added that as of yesterday, only 21 percent of the allocation was consumed during the recent visit of typhoons.
“We have enough supply of rice even in the coming months,” Alcala said.