Adlai instead of rice, anyone?

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/03 March) — Besides the traditional food staple like rice, corn and camote, the Department of Agriculture in Southwestern Mindanao is now advocating the propagation of Adlai as an alternative food crop.

Amalia Datukan, DA-Southwestern Mindanao director, said the regional office has started promoting Adlai in line with the directive issued by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to make the country self-sufficient in food.

Adlai (Coixlacryma-jobi L.) is a freely branching upright herb that grows as tall as three feet and propagates through seeds.

Known also as Job’s tears due to the tear-like shape of its grains, which come as white or brown, Adlai belongs to the family Poaceae or the grass family, the same family to which wheat, corn and rice belong.

Adlai is used to make body accessories like beads and bracelets, according to a statement from the DA regional office.

Aside from food source, Adlai is also utilized as an alternative remedy against various diseases like tumor, appendicitis, arthritis, beriberi, bronchitis, diabetes, dysentery, fever, headache and manyother ailments, it added.

Datukan said the regional office’s research stations have started planting this type of grass and are conducting studies to further discover the other potentials of Adlai.

“We can complete Adlai’s potentials through the integrated cooperation of non-government organizations, private sectors and theDA,” she said.

“Through this, we will obtain essential results to develop additional mechanics on Adlai production, market projection and conventional and organic crop management system,” she added.

Recently, an Adlai farm technology demonstration in Barangay Carpenter Hill here was recorded to harvest more than three tons per hectare, the DA regional office said.

Adlai is usually harvested four or five months after planting. Its grains are separated from its stalks through a thresher, then dried before milled.

Promoting Adlai as an alternative staple food in Southwestern Mindanao came even as the region is one of the country’s top five rice-producing areas.

Also known as Region 12 or SocCSKSarGen, it is also the “rice basket” of Mindanao, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said.

In a fact sheet, Herlita Caraan, NSCB Region 12 chief, said Southwestern Mindanao yielded 1.244 million metric tons of palay last year.

The volume was five percent higher than the 1.185 million MT palay production in 2010, which compared to 2009 was 3.6 percent lower due to the dry spell that hit the area in the first semester of 2010, she said.

“The region maintained its position as the 5th largest palay-producing region of the country and Mindanao’s top palay producer,” Caraan said, citing data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)