By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will soon house the biggest biotechnology center of the Department of Agriculture (DA), which would develop technologies and innovations for the agriculture sector.
“The goal of constructing this center is to generate improved technologies, increase productivity, and enhance commercial value of DA’s priority crops such as rice, abaca, coconut, white and yellow corn, cotton, cassava, sweet potato, yam, tomato, and eggplant,” said DA Crop Biotechnology Center Head Roel R. Suralta.
It also aims to build a network among local and international researchers to sustain and continually advance biotechnology in the Philippines.
More than P300 million has been raised so far to construct state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities.
The funding of the said facility was granted by the US government through its Public Law 480 program, also known as the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act.
“Our submitted proposal was recommended by the DA and we were able to get P277 million for this project from the US food aid program. The remaining R25 million came from PhilRice,” Suralta said.
The budget will cover the construction of new buildings, purchasing of state-of-the-art biotechnology equipment and laboratory furniture, and monitoring and evaluation of the project in coordination with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries.
Apart from equipment and facilities, the center will also provide training and support to the Filipino researchers who will venture in the field of biotechnology.