Milled Adlay, or grits, cooked as rice alternative takes center stage during the recent Region-10 Adlay Stakeholders Meeting at the Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex (NMACLRC), Dalwangan, Malaybalay City.
The Department of Agriculture -10 Research Division, thru a team of Adlay researchers and product developers, has developed and promoted the production, marketing and utilization of Adlay and Adlay-based commercial products such as wine, breakfast cereals, coffee, among others considering the crop’s diverse potentials in addressing food and nutrition security, and in providing economic benefits to farmers and potential entrepreneurs.
To maximize Adlay’s production potentials and utilization in the Region, the agency has also organized an Adlay Industry Cluster, as an institutional mechanism for the sustained production and utilization of Adlay as a staple food and commercial crop in Northern Mindanao, a multi-stakeholder cluster of development partners from the government, private sector, academe, and other institutional players recently organized themselves for the creation and operationalization of the Adlay Industy Network in Region 10.
Juanita Salvani, DA-10 Research Division chief and chair of the Adlay National Technical Working Group (TWG) said that the institutional mobilization and industry clustering of Adlay hopes to develop and sustain Adlay-based agri-enterprises in Northern Mindanao.
Adlay, one of the most important staple cereal crops of many indigenous peoples groups in the upland areas, is characterized by its resemblance and taste similarity with rice, and a crop stand comparable with corn.
Antonieta Tumapon, lead researcher of the DA-10 Adlay R&D program, affirmed of the crop’s multiple potentials with economic, social and environmental benefits.
“Adlay is utilized as a rice alternative, health and wellness staple crop, alternative livelihood and income source thru value-added utilization,” Tumapon said. Also, with its extensive root system, Adlay is proven effective as a soil-erosion control crop in idle, sloping agricultural production areas. The increasing number of health-conscious individuals also contributed to the popularity of Adlay with the currently growing favorable market acceptability towards it.
In indigenous peoples communities, adlay is largely consumed as a household food security crop as a rice alternative or used to make lugaw (porridge),champorado or other household recipes. Commercially, adlay is being used to make a few limited products.
The Adlay research program in Region 10 is primarily driven by the goal of enhancing Adlay production, promotion and food utilization in Northern Mindanao, thru generating technologies that provide farmers with improved Adlay varieties and desirable agronomic characteristics.
Aside from technology generation on varietal development and crop protection, other components of the Adlay R&D program include seed production, on-farm commercial production, promotion and advocacy, product development, among others.
The institutional clustering of the Adlay industry stakeholders in Region 10 complements the technology development and promotional component of the Adlay Research and Development program of the Department of Agriculture 10 – Research Division thru the support of the Bureau of Agricultural Research.
For a newly-emerging agricultural enterprise for Adlay that is faced with the pressing challenge of unsustained production and undeterminate market, a strong production-to-utilization chain has to be institutionalized thru a multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration, with emphasis on ensuring the sustained production and market for Adlay as a staple food and commercial crop. This calls for priority attention along the areas such as institutional arrangements and support services, policies, promotion and application of new adlay farming technologies, capacity building of adlay farmers and product processors, and identification and development of markets, mainstreaming Adlay in the development agenda of the local government units, among others.
The clustering of the Region 10 Adlay Industry Network, which took-off as a Rural Development Action Plan and Project (RDAPP) of four (4) DA-10 Master in Public Management-Major in Rural Development (MPM-RD) students, is composed of specific Technical Working Group for six (6) component areas: policy development and planning; capacity development; agri-enterprise and agribusiness development; research, production and technology transfer; mechanization and infrastructure support; environment and Adlay-based ecosystem development; and knowledge management.
The cluster has also heralded its vision of improving the quality of life for Adlay farmers, providing income diversification and alternative livelihood for rural entrepreneurs, and realizing a food-secure and healthy communities. The Region 10 Adlay industry shall exemplify inclusive growth for the overall benefit of stakeholders and partners in the value-chain, and uphold good governance of resources and the preservation of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations.
Significantly, long-term impacts are expected from successful Adlay multi-stakeholder partnership thru the crafting and implementation of policy interventions for improved Adlay production and utilization, and better household and community food security by tossing up Adlay as a potential additional Filipino staple food and commercial crop. The cluster is also banking on the establishment and operationalization of the Adlay Development Center in the region.
The RDAPP is conducted in support of the Adlay Research and Development (R&D) Program in Region 10 which intends to maximize Adlay’s potential and utilization as an additional staple food and alternative income source for communities. (Mae Odimyrl A. Morales, DA-10)