Following the directive of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to intensify initiatives on adlay, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) called for a special meeting and planning among members of the National Adlay Technical Working Group and focal persons from the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs), Central Mindanao University, and BAR held on 15-17 February 2017.
With guidance from the Adlay TWG members, the Adlay R&D Program’s direction was reviewed and revisited to ensure that activities are aligned to the DA’s current thrusts – with emphasis on harnessing the potentials of adlay for health and wellness, and more importantly, as an alternative food staple commodity that can help in contributing to the country’s bid of achieving food security.
Focal persons across the regions presented their respective project proposals which included plans of adlay-related R&D activities for 2017-2018. Among those presented were: intensifying seed production in expansion areas, verification trials of adlay varieties intercropped under different crop-based farming systems (coconut, rubber, legumes, cashew, etc.), further improvement of developed packages of technologies and value-added products, refinement of developed postharvest equipment and facilities, strengthening promotional activities, conduct of market research, establishment of adlay processing centers in major producing areas, and exploring the possibility of rehabilitation in mine-abandoned areas through the introduction of adlay intercropped with other crops.
Coming from the same family where wheat, rice, and corn belong to, adlay is a tall grain-bearing tropical plant which was found to be adapting well in some regions, particularly in high elevation areas such as the hillsides of Nueva Vizcaya, in Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao, and in some other parts of the country. It has also been found out that adlay is accepted as an alternative staple food by Indigenous Peoples (IPs) such as the Subanen tribe in Zamboanga del Sur. Chemical composition analysis conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2012 revealed higher protein content in cooked adlay grits (3.7 g) as compared to well-milled, boiled rice (2.1 g).
Under the Adlay R&D Program which pushes for the development, utilization, and promotion of adlay as an alternative crop to our food staples, various product development efforts have been undertaken to further promote its utilization. These include Pinoy Gourmix developed by DA-RFO 2, breakfast cereals and wine by DA-RFO 10, champorado by DA-RFO 4A, crackers by DA-RFO 12, and coffee by DA-RFO 5 and 9, among many others.
As of February 2017, BAR has supported 51 adlay-related projects being implemented by DA-RFOs, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and selected state universities and colleges. ### (Anne Camille B. Brion, DA-BAR)