Govt pushes for new rice substitute

Gov’t pushes for new rice substitute

With thousands of Filipinos struggling to feed their families amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the government is looking for ways to introduce a new substitute for rice to help make more parts of the country hunger-free.


Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government is pushing for the planting of ‘adlai,’ a gluten-free grain, to ensure food security and fight against hunger and poverty.


“We will push for the planting of adlai in the Caraga region as part of the residents’ staple food and as a source of livelihood for farmers, indigenous peoples, rebel returnees as well as those located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas to ensure we have food security and to continue the fight against hunger and poverty,” Nograles said in a statement.


Nograles, chair of the Zero Hunger Task Force, described adlai as a “great potential” to be a key food and livelihood source for the region.


“Adlai is more nutritious than corn and brown and white rice. Its propagation is appropriate for upland and highland areas in Mindanao where there is a higher incidence of poverty and hunger,” he said.


He said his office is closely coordinating with the Department of Agriculture for assistance in propagating adlai and in allocating additional funds to buy seedlings that will be distributed to farmers and other beneficiaries in Caraga and in other areas in Mindanao.


 Citing a DA study, Nograles said adlai is ideal for inter-cropping with other plants and does not need additional water irrigation because it can survive in slope areas and can depend on moisture from rainfall.