MALAYBALAY CITY, BUKIDNON, October 3 – The agriculture department in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) has been urged to strengthen its efforts of championing adlay, an indigenous crop being introduced as an alternative source of income and livelihood for farmers at the same time, a healthier staple food substitute.

In a report by the Research Division presented to DA Undersecretary for Regulations Engr. Zamzamin L. Ampatuan, growing said commodity can generate about P100,000 net income per hectare from an average cost of production of P30,000-P35,000.

Also known as Job’s tears, adlay is produced in about 570 hectares in Region 10, particularly in Bukidnon with major growing areas in Lantapan, Manolo Fortich, Impasug-ong, Talakag and Malaybalay City, even citing that former rebels in the latter site have taken interest in cultivating the crop.

Adlay production takes about five to six months depending on elevation and are being sold at a farmgate price of P50-100 per kilogram (kg) as seeds and P80-P100/kg as grits, with market outlets in the abovesaid producing areas, including the cities of Iligan and Valencia, Claveria town and even Metro Manila.

“Isang issue na dapat nating tignan ay kung paano ang income niya [adlay] kung itatapat mo siya sa palay at mais,” the DA official remarked, adding that profit comparisons will help more farmer-producers come up with informed decisions to invest in growing adlay.

As food source, adlay can be cooked similar like rice and corn. It is known to be good for diabetics, as it contains low glycemic index, while it can also be processed in making flour for bread, porridge, delicacies and wine.

Further, it can also serve as fodder for livestock.

With funding from DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), value-added products are also being developed using adlay ranging from breakfast cereals, wine, beauty soap, coffee, crispies and crunchy bar.

Noting that adlay is yet to break into the mainstream market, USec Ampatuan explained, that over time, the commodity will eventually become a food staple, not only for the health conscious or the high-end market, but for more Filipino people.

“May market na ‘yan [adlay]. Maging trend sana ito kasi sa ngayon, curious pa lang tayo dito, but still, curiosity generates market,” he asserted.

Likewise, the agri official challenged DA-NorMin to position the commodity well, as talks for adlay to be adopted in DA’s organic agriculture program are in progress.

“Our plan is to make this [adlay] as a flagship project, a potential organic and export commodity,” he continued.

He also suggested for the food technologists of DA-10’s Research Division to create dishes such as risotto and paella, utilizing adlay to possibly capture the foreign market, especially Europe.

While factoring in the possibilities of a market for said commodity, the DA official also underscored thorough preparedness in terms of boosting adlay production.

“Continue producing the [adlay] seeds. Paramihin na ninyo iyan at maka-adopt sana ang iilang farmer-groups na ang focus is seed production para ma-promote talaga siya,” USec Ampatuan said.

Meanwhile, DA-10 Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado expressed his gratitude for the DA undersecretary’s first ever visit to the region and allowing the team to showcase NorMin’s strides relative to the research and development initiatives on adlay.

“Hopefully, next time, the group can discuss, not only adlay, but the agri-development of Region 10, as a whole, as we are the host of many agri-based companies. We are also major producers for cattle, swine and poultry, and almost all fruits and vegetables are likewise grown in NorMin,” the director responded.

Capping the event, the DA official also visited the 403rd Infantry Brigade, one of the department’s partners in growing adlay, which are planted in the fields of Camp Osio Bahian in Impalambong, Malaybalay City. # (JLO)