Following the successful introduction of the Purple Magic corn variety at the Agrilink 2016 series, it has become the favorite snack food of those with discriminating tastes and the favored planting material of enterprising farmers and agri enthusiasts.

By Julio Yap, Jr.

In fact, the purple corn variety is becoming more popular among many Filipinos, primarily due to its eating quality.

Purple corn has been available for thousands of years. It was believed to have been planted first by the Incas of Peru some 4,000 years ago. Here in the Philippines, the purple corn seeds can now be sourced from Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC).

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST – Joni and Susan Sanchez of San Pablo City in Laguna have successfully cultivated the variety in commercial quantities. From a one-hectare farm, they were able to harvest a considerable number of corn ears which they sold at a very profitable price through their Joni and Susan Agroshop in San Pablo.

During their first harvest season, some of their clients even went directly to their farm to buy the freshly harvested corn ears, while others placed their orders beforehand.

The couple’s corn plantation partnership program also provides livelihood opportunities for the local residents.

The popularity of the variety can be attributed to its healthful benefits, since purple-colored fruits and vegetables are becoming popular due to their anthocyanin content. This is usually found in blue, red, and purple fruits and veggies, like purple corn.

According to Rudy Dean, area sales manager of Allied Botanical Corporation for Regions 4A and 5, anthocyanin is said to improve the functions of the heart, eyes, and nervous system. He claimed that anthocyanin can help lower bad cholesterol levels, which can in turn help in preventing heart diseases and hypertension.

Purple corn, with its rich antioxidant content, can also help protect against cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Being a natural food, purple corn can help restore the amount of collagen in the body, and this may delay ageing. Collagen is also believed to improve the appearance of the skin, nails, and hair.

INSTANT POPULARITY –  The Purple Magic variety, which is under the Condor Seeds brand, can be cultivated just like ordinary sweet corn and white corn varieties. During last year’s edition of Agrilink, the purple corn variety introduced by ABC attracted the interest of many event visitors.

Freshly harvested purple corn was made available, cooked at one of the outdoor exhibit booths of ABC and sold for a very affordable price. It is very sweet-tasting, soft, and enjoyable to eat from the cob when boiled or steamed.

BRIGHT PROSPECTS – Because of the popularity and ease in cultivating the variety, the Sanchez couple signified their intention to cultivate more Purple Magic in their other farms, which are located in different areas. Incidentally, the

Joni and Susan Agroshop has started a corn plantation partnership program which aims to convert vacant lots or idle farms into crop producing areas.
Joni explained that under the program, they can help in supplying the rising demand for corn in the market while at the same time providing livelihood opportunities for residents where the farm is located, and creating investment opportunities for prospective partners or investors.

According to him, the partnership program includes a dedicated one-hectare farm lot, corn seedlings, manpower, farm-to-market distribution of the crop to established buyers, in-house insurance for the investment, and the cost of other inputs like fertilizers, farm machinery rentals, and other incidental fees.

RISK-FREE – The Sanchez couple says that the partnership is virtually “risk-free” since the investment is covered by an in-house insurance scheme. “During cases of unforeseen events, such as natural disasters or human activities that may cause inevitable damage to the crop, through our in-house insurance, we will replace and replant the seedlings,” Joni says.

He added that the minimum investment amount is just 50,000 and after each harvest cycle, the partner will receive a 20 percent share from the partnership scheme.

Joni and Susan are not setting any limits regarding the partnership fee. It is based upon the agreement between both parties, they explained. It was learned that the couple is now cultivating several farmlands which are located in the provinces of Pangasinan, Zambales, and Laguna. “We allow our partners or prospective investors to visit the farms and interact with the farmers for them to appreciate the salient features of the agreement,” they said.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2017 issue.