By Calvin Cordova

With its vast fertile land, the municipality of Asturias in western Cebu is aiming to remain a top corn producer in the province as it targets to cater to the high demand of yellow corn, which is a main ingredient in producing animal feeds.

In the recently concluded “Corn Derby” hosted by Virginia Farms, Inc. and Asturias Farms, Inc., Asturias Mayor Jose Antonio T. Pintor said the municipality has been known to be the top producer of yellow corn in Cebu but its production was still not enough to meet the demand of yellow corn in the province.

“Our soil is good for yellow corn and with that we would like our farmers here to cultivate more of that crops especially that Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has encouraged production of yellow corn,” said Pintor.

Pintor said the “Corn Derby” was the town’s way of encouraging the farmers and also to check which variety is the best in terms of quality and productivity.

Sister companies Virginia Farms and Asturias Farms, which provided for the area used in the Corn Derby, own a 360-hectare property in Asturias and both are looking to partner with the local government to expand the production of corn in Cebu.

Rolando E. Tambago, Virginia Farms president, said the company was willing to create a scheme that will offer guaranteed income for corn farmers.

“We have an existing program under our Virginia Farmers Solution. It’s a buy-back guarantee program for hogs that we offer to every farmer that uses our feeds for their hogs and we buy their hogs upon harvest at a minimum rate of P118 per kilo live weight. We will soon develop a guaranteed income scheme for fruits and vegetable farmers that will include those growing yellow corns,” he said.

In Cebu, the requirement is about 20 million kilos of yellow corn every month for swine feeds alone and Virginia Farms needs about 1.2 million kilos every month.

Tambago said there is a huge market for yellow corn that local farmers can tap especially now that the provincial government has pushed for the ECD or the Enhanced Countryside Development program specifically eyeing to support the agriculture and tourism industries in the countrysides.

Cebu Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Roldan Saragena, in his speech, shared that in 2021, the provincial government has allocated a budget of P15 billion for the ECD program. Of that, at least P28 million is already allocated for investment of four (4) yellow corn post harvest facilities that will be located in strategic areas in Cebu including Bantayan Island, Camotes Island.

“This is to support the yellow corn farmers since one of the areas we identified that the farmers will really need is the post harvest facility,” said Saragena.