PH gets fresh China funds for rice project
China will infuse fresh funding worth P226.93 million to a joint Philippine and Chinese program established almost two decades ago aimed at boosting technical cooperation in the agriculture sector.
In particular, the 27.52-million renminbi grant signed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on behalf of the Philippine government and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, on Tuesday will “modernize the Philippines’ hybrid rice center, and in turn, boost the country’s palay production,” the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement on Friday.
The DOF said that the agreement, in the form of an exchange of letters, would cover the third phase of the technical cooperation project for the Philippines’ Agricultural Technology Center to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture.
Specifically, the grant aims to “contribute in boosting the rice production capacity of the Philippines towards rice sufficiency by upgrading the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology’s (PhilSCAT) hybrid rice technology research and demonstration center into a modern hybrid rice breeding station and technology demonstration center.”
The PhilSCAT was established in 2000 through an initial $5-million donation from China and with counterpart funding from the government, the program’s website said.
“It is a symbol of friendship between the two governments and their people, with the purpose of enhancing the communication and technical cooperation in agriculture and related fields,” it added.
The 10-hectare PhilSCAT is located within the Central Luzon State University in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
The first technical cooperation program, implemented from 2003 to 2008, “primarily tested and demonstrated the adaptability of Chinese hybrid rice and agricultural mechanization technologies,” the program website said.
Under the five-year second phase, which began in 2011, “technologies from the previous technical cooperation program will be put to the mainstream and continue further study on other advanced Chinese technologies in agriculture for possible adaptation in the Philippines,” it said.
The third phase of the technical cooperation program for PhilSCAT formed part of the agreement on economic and technical cooperation with China providing for a $500-million renminbi (P4.13-billion) grant for at least four Philippine projects.
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