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Batik : A Glutinous Corn You Would Like to Grow and Eat

Glutinous corn is special that you and I love to eat. With its smooth and sticky consistency, glutinous corn is really nice to eat. The trouble is that this is not available most of the time. And if it is available, the ears are usually small.

Now there is a new variety that produces much bigger ears than the varieties traditionally planted by our farmers. This interesting variety that we have tasted lately is a bi-color waxy corn (that’s another term for glutinous) called Batik. This has kernels that are a combination of white and purple. The purple kernels emerge as red, turning darker as the ears become more mature.

We tasted the sweet and glutinous kernels of Batik at the demonstration farm of Manila East Lakeview Farms in Morong, Rizal, where one of the first trial plantings was made in collaboration with technicians of Allied Botanical Corporation which is distributing the seeds. It is nice to eat even if it is not cooked. The tender kernels are juicy and sweet. Of course, it is mainly intended for boiling.

The boiled Batik corn has that smooth and sticky consistency of the traditional glutinous corn. It is nice to eat because it is also sweet, especially when cooked soon after harvesting. Harvesting for boiling purposes is best done 65 to 72 days from planting. It is recommended that harvesting should not be done later, otherwise the kernels will be tougher to eat.

Growing the Batik has a good money-making potential. Because the ears are bigger than the ordinary variety, it can command a higher price. In fact, one fellow who has immediately recognized its commercial possibilities is Adrian Melendres, a trader who is supplying fresh agricultural produce to the SM chain of supermarkets, including mushrooms, leafy greens, passion fruit and culinary herbs. He said that the purchasing department people of SM are also excited about the new glutinous corn which they want to carry in their fruits and vegetables section.

Now, Adrian is enlisting farmers to produce Batik for him which he will supply to the supermarket chain. Producing corn for boiling has its own advantages. For one, the growing period is much shorter than when growing corn for their mature ears. Since the plants can be harvested as early as 65 days from planting, the stalks will still be green and could well be used as feed for livestock. The ears are less exposed to bad weather as well as to pests and diseases because of the shorter growing period.

By Zac B. Sarian