13th National Corn Congress Addresses Food Security, Malnutrition

Crafter’s Joy Cornhusk Handicrafts owner and manager Jocelyn Ong-Perez welcomes DA Secretary Manny Piñol when he stopped by the ATI's exhibit booth.

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Corn is front and center once again as the Philippine Maize Federation Inc., (PhilMAize) partners with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for the 13th Philippine National Corn Congress (PNCC) and the 5th National Quality Corn Achievers Awards (NQCAA).

The 1st Cornucopia Awards and the 1st Cassava Cluster Management Excellence Awards (CCMEA) were also held in conjunction with these events. These efforts are aimed at recognizing the outstanding contribution of various individuals and groups in the development of the corn and cassava industries.

“I encourage everyone to look beyond corn as material for feeds only. We should innovate and come up with other products out of corn,” DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in his keynote speech. He went on to underscore the three things needed to boost the agriculture sector, namely, technology use, financing for farmers, and marketing.

With the theme “Reshaping Corn as Staple, for Health and Wellness”, the congress also gathered various corn industry stakeholders to discuss issues and disseminate information on the industry.

One of the highlights of the event was the promotion of the rice-corn blend to help combat malnutrition, where an acceptability test was conducted by the National Food Authority. Lectures were likewise held about the nutrition and wellness benefits of eating corn grits.

ATI Director Luz Taposok graced the event and stressed that it is now time to think and rethink of more suitable advocacies, policies, and regulations for the industry. She then acknowledged the part of the farmers and traders in the promotion of corn as a food staple, filling the gap in the aim for self-sufficiency. Finally, she encouraged everyone to think global and local in making the country well-known in agriculture, particularly in corn.

To recognize the ingenuity and resourcefulness of farmers’ organizations, the 1st Cornucopia Awards were given to the following outstanding organizations: Cassava Growers and Processors Association-Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte; The Tillers Multi-Purpose Cooperative-Moncada, Tarlac; San Dionisio Multi Sectoral Integrated Association-San Dionisio, Iloilo; Gabriela Women’s Association-Pidigan, Abra; and San Jose Corn Handicraft Association-San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Meanwhile, the 1st CCMEA recognized the groups with remarkable contributions to the cassava industry. The awardees were Polo Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Polomolok, South Cotabato; Lambac Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Guagua, Pampanga; and Tuburan United Farmers Association in Cawayan, Masbate.

The NQCAA, on the other hand, was given to local government units with exceptional performance in the promotion and development of corn sector. Outstanding provinces, cities, and municipalities were awarded as well as the provincial, city, and municipal agriculturists, corn program coordinators, and agricultural extension workers.

The event culminated with the presentation of the 13th PNCC resolutions, the Market-Buyers Forum, and a raffle draw. The ATI also joined the exhibit, together with the members of the Crafter’s Joy Cornhusk Handicrafts in Pangasinan, and distributed about 2,000 copies of information, education, and communication materials on corn and cassava.

These events were held last November 22-24, 2017 at Philippine International Convention Center, Forum Tent in this city.