Saturday, May 18Food Security Matters

Why Filipino Farmers Should Grow Purple Corn

The Philippines is no stranger to the vibrant colors of its diverse culture, lush landscapes, and bountiful harvests. But there’s one particular hue that is capturing the attention of both farmers and consumers alike – the mesmerizing purple of Morado F1 purple sweet waxy corn. As the demand for healthier food options grows, this unique crop offers Filipino farmers a golden opportunity. In this article, we will explore why Filipino farmers should consider growing purple corn and how it can be a game-changer for both their income and health-conscious consumers.

purple corn
Purple corn or “Morado”

A Growing Demand for Healthier Food Choices

The modern Filipino consumer is becoming increasingly health-conscious, and this shift in dietary preferences is evident in a recent survey conducted by Food Industry Asia. The survey reveals that eight out of ten Filipino consumers are more concerned about their health and are actively seeking healthier food options that also satisfy their taste buds. This changing mindset offers a significant market opportunity for innovative, nutritious crops like Morado purple corn.

The Alluring Morado (Purple Corn)

Morado F1 purple sweet waxy corn, developed by East-West Seed, is a standout variety that holds great potential for Filipino farmers. It’s not just the captivating hue that makes Morado special; it offers a range of attributes that make it an enticing choice for both growers and consumers.

Consistent Income Opportunity

One of the primary benefits of cultivating Morado is that it can provide farmers with a consistent income opportunity throughout the year. This corn variety is suitable for planting all year round, allowing farmers to maintain a steady harvest cycle. Additionally, Morado is an early-maturing crop, with a short harvest period of just 60 to 62 days after planting. This means that farmers can get their produce to the market sooner, which can translate into quicker returns on their investment.

Exceptional Ear Quality

Beyond its eye-catching purple color, Morado distinguishes itself with its outstanding ear quality. The kernels are not only visually appealing but also soft, tender, and remarkably sweet. What’s more, these kernels maintain their sweetness for up to two days after harvest. This exceptional quality is a key selling point for Morado, making it a popular choice for consumers who value both flavor and nutrition.

The Power of Anthocyanins

One of Morado’s most remarkable attributes is its high anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are natural compounds responsible for the purple color of this corn. These compounds are not just visually appealing; they also offer significant health benefits. Anthocyanins are known for their antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and may have a preventive effect against certain types of cancer. Additionally, research suggests that anthocyanins can contribute to gut health, leading to overall improved well-being. Morado’s rich anthocyanin content makes it an appealing choice for health-conscious consumers who are looking to incorporate nutritious foods into their diets.

Farmers Share Their Success Stories

Real-world experiences from Filipino farmers who have embraced Morado paint a compelling picture of its potential. Levi Llaneta, a farmer from Albay, attests to Morado’s market appeal, stating that buyers always look for Morado due to its sweet, sticky texture and health benefits. Similarly, Mike Paragozo, a farmer from Agusan del Sur, shares his success story. He points out that Morado commands a premium price in the market, with prices ranging from 50 to 80 pesos per kilo, significantly higher than other corn varieties.

Mike’s experience reveals that customers are willing to pay more for Morado because they prioritize the health benefits it offers. He explains, “Every week, we plant 1-2 kg of Morado to ensure a continuous supply.” This consistent planting approach allows him to meet the growing demand for this unique crop and capitalize on its market potential. Mike also emphasizes that Morado is easy to grow, with a high germination rate of around 95%, and it is robust against diseases.

Versatility and Tourism Potential

The uniqueness and versatility of Morado also open up various marketing avenues for farmers like Mike. He mentions, “Morado can be sold to processors of corn coffee, fresh markets, or directly to consumers.” This adaptability gives farmers the flexibility to explore different market channels and adapt to changing consumer preferences.

Furthermore, Morado’s distinct purple color has the potential to draw tourists to farms, offering an additional income opportunity for farmers. Mike is taking advantage of this by establishing Morado as a trademark on his farm in Agusan del Sur, attracting tourists who are intrigued by this unique purple corn. The blend of tradition and innovation in farming practices can create a harmonious synergy between agriculture and tourism, bolstering rural economies.

East-West Seed’s Commitment to Filipino Farmers

Jay Lopez, General Manager of East-West Seed Philippines, expresses the company’s commitment to improving the lives of Filipino farmers. He explains, “At East-West Seed, we aim to improve the lives of our farmers by offering them innovative and high-yielding vegetable seed varieties that are suitable for local growing conditions and meet the needs of the local market.”

Lopez adds, “Morado purple corn combines visual appeal, health benefits, and a significant potential to increase income, making it a favorable choice for entrepreneurial farmers.” East-West Seed is dedicated to providing farmers with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-changing agricultural landscape, and Morado purple corn is a prime example of its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions About Purple Corn

Purple corn, also known as Morado corn, is a unique and increasingly popular crop. It stands out due to its vibrant purple color and potential health benefits. In this FAQ, we will address some common questions about purple corn.

1. What is purple corn?

Purple corn, scientifically known as Zea mays, is a type of corn with deep purple kernels. It gets its distinctive color from a group of natural pigments called anthocyanins, which have antioxidant properties.

2. Is Morado corn a natural or genetically modified (GMO) crop?

Purple corn can occur naturally, but it can also be bred or genetically modified to enhance its color or specific traits. It’s essential to check the source of the purple corn to determine if it’s genetically modified or a natural variety.

3. What are anthocyanins, and why are they important?

Anthocyanins are natural compounds responsible for the purple, blue, or red colors in various fruits and vegetables. They are known for their antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and provide potential health benefits, such as cancer prevention and improved gut health.

4. What are the health benefits of consuming morado corn?

Consuming purple corn, rich in anthocyanins, may have several potential health benefits. These include reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and the risk of certain chronic diseases. However, it’s essential to include purple corn as part of a balanced diet to fully reap these benefits.

5. How can purple corn be incorporated into the diet?

Purple corn can be used in various culinary applications, such as making purple cornmeal, purple corn flour, and even beverages like purple corn juice. You can use it in recipes for bread, muffins, pancakes, and more. It can also be added to smoothies for its color and potential health benefits.

6. Is purple corn sweeter than yellow or white corn?

Purple corn is known for its sweetness, making it a popular choice for those with a sweet tooth. Its kernels are soft, and tender, and stay sweet even after harvest. This makes it a favored option for both cooking and snacking.

7. Can morado corn be grown in the Philippines?

Yes, morado corn, including the Morado F1 variety, can be successfully grown in the Philippines. It is well-suited to the local climate and can be planted year-round. This offers Filipino farmers a consistent income opportunity.

8. What are some innovative uses for morado corn besides consumption?

Purple corn’s vibrant color makes it appealing for various applications. It can be used in natural food coloring, as an ingredient in craft cocktails and beverages, and even as an eye-catching addition to floral arrangements.

9. Is purple corn more expensive than other corn varieties?

The price of morado corn can be higher than that of other corn varieties due to its unique color, sweetness, and potential health benefits. Farmers who grow and sell purple corn, like Morado, can often command a premium in the market.

10. Where can I find purple corn products in the Philippines?

You can find purple corn and its products in local markets, grocery stores, and specialty health food stores. It’s also possible to source purple corn directly from farmers who grow it.

11. Are there any safety concerns associated with consuming purple corn?

Purple corn is generally safe to consume, but like any food, it’s essential to practice food safety. Ensure that it’s washed thoroughly, and if you have any allergies or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before making it a significant part of your diet.

Final Words

The rising demand for healthier food options among Filipino consumers presents an exciting opportunity for farmers to embrace unique and nutritious crops like Morado F1 purple sweet waxy corn. Morado offers a consistent income source, exceptional ear quality, and health benefits due to its high anthocyanin content. Filipino farmers like Levi Llaneta and Mike Paragozo have already realized the potential of Morado, and their success stories are inspiring others to follow suit. As the agricultural landscape evolves, innovative crops like Morado and the commitment of companies like East-West Seed will continue to drive positive change in the lives of Filipino farmers and the broader community.

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