DA working on standardization of corn industry

Clarence Agustin, of the DA's Bureau of Agriculture and Fishery Product Standard (BAFPS), said they wanted to establish a national corn quality guideline to promote competitiveness among producers as well as ensure that the crop is safe for human consumption. He said they solicited ideas from corn seed producers and farmers. Agustin said the move is based on Republic Act 8435, or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, which mandates BAFPS to develop and enforce product standard on agriculture and fishery products. Miram Acda, director of the DA’s Bureau of Post Harvest Research and Extension, said the agency has formulated a draft guideline for corn and is refining it with the help of people in the industry. This, she added, includes safety and quality standards, taking into consideration the production, harvesting and on farm post harvest handling and storage of corn. Agustin said, too, that since the corn industry is plagued by the problem of aflatoxin, which is supposed to cause cancer, that they are also drafting a code for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxin contamination, covering production to storage. “This code of practice is to assure that food and feeds are safe from aflatoxin,” he said. Aflatoxin is caused by the buildup of molds in corn due to improper or poor post harvest facilities. The Southwestern Mindanao region hosts three modern post harvest facilities funded by the DA, according to Zaldy Boloron, the DA’s corn coordinator in the region. (MindaNews)