PhilRice to embark on P718-M upgrade of Cotabato facility

Leocadio Sebastian, PhilRice executive director, said the project would introduce new technologies on improving the research and development (R&D) facilities of the Midsayap center and in six other stations in the country.

He said the project was aimed at “improving rice productivity to increase farmers' income, boost national rice production and reduce poverty in the rural areas."

The proposal was approved in November last year by the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee chaired by Finance Secretary Margarito Teves. The proposal awaits confirmation from National Economic and
Development Authority for endorsement for funding by the Japanese government’s General Grant-Aid Program.
The proposed funding from the Japanese government was set at P600 million, with the Philippine government to shoulder the remaining P118 million for taxes and duties, banking fees, and operation and maintenance costs.

Aside from is Midsayap center, Sebastian said the project would also be implemented in its centers in Batac in Ilocos Norte, Murcia in Negros Occidental, Los Baños in Laguna, Agusan del Norte, Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija and San Mateo in Isabela.

Sebastian said the project would cover the construction of facilities for farm operations and mechanization, crop service and office/laboratory buildings, seed storage and provision of laboratory and farm equipment.

Sebastian said their research centers were primarily designated to develop or modify technologies to suit regional needs and preferences and serve as satellite centers in promoting technologies and getting feedback from the rice industry stakeholders, especially farmers and local government unit extension workers.

The improved facilities would support ongoing technical cooperation projects between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and PhilRice, such as the Development and Promotion of Location-Specific Integrated High-Yielding Rice and Rice-Based Technologies Project being implemented in Nueva Ecija, Ilocos and Agusan provinces as well as the Rice-Based Farming Systems Training and Support Program for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.