'BigMa’ rice-corn project gets DA funding

To help ensure food security during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and beyond, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is supporting a proposal of publicly-listed AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) to boost corn production and introduce its “BigMa” rice-corn blend to Filipino consumers as a healthier alternative.

In a letter to ANI president and CEO Antonio Tiu, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA is favorably endorsing and committing funds and technical assistance to make the company’s “BigMa” project a reality.

“Your proposal to produce and promote the ‘BigMa' (Rice-Corn Blend) in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, and eventually in other regions of the country, is very laudable. This is a timely initiative as a food resiliency intervention amid this Covid-19 period and beyond,” Dar said in his letter to Tiu.

Aside from funding support, the agri chief said the DA will mobilize its Regional Field Offices (RFOs) and collaborate with the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) partner for the detailed planning and implementation of ANI’s proposal.

The DA earlier said it is eyeing portions of vast ancestral lands nationwide to be transformed into food production areas.

"In this time of crisis, we need practical strategies that can produce immediate results. Thus, we are calling on our fellow countrymen, the indigenous peoples (IPs) to transform part if not most of their idle ancestral lands into vegetable and high value crop farms," Dar said.