The Chinese government will provide a grant aiming to enhance the Philippines’ palay production, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
In a statement, the department announced that Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan forged last Tuesday an agreement on a 27.52-million renminbi grant from China.
The Chinese funding will be used to modernize the Philippines’ hybrid rice center, and in turn, boost the country’s palay production, the DOF said.
The agreement, which will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, covers Phase III of the technical cooperation project for the Philippines’ agricultural technology center.
According to the DOF, the RMB27.52 million grant aims “to contribute in boosting the rice production capacity of the Philippines towards rice sufficiency.”
The DOF said it will upgrade 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.
This agreement is one of the three accords with China signed by Dominguez on behalf of the Philippine government during the recent visit of President Duterte to China earlier this week.
The Philippines and China signed a total of six new agreements on the sidelines of the annual forum held at the coastal town of Boao.
Besides this agreement, Dominguez also signed the $62-million preferential buyer’s credit loan agreement on the Chico river pump irrigation project and an agreement on economic and technical cooperation involving a separate $79-million grant.
The DOF said the dollar-denominated loan agreement on the Chico river irrigation project, which will be implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), covers 85 percent of the total project cost estimated at $83.89 million.
The interest rate on the loan is 2.0 percent per annum with a maturity period of 20 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace period, the DOF said.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the irrigation project will provide a stable supply of water to around 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefit 4,350 farmers and their families, and serve 21 barangays in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga in Northern Luzon.
Meanwhile, the agreement on economic and technical cooperation involves a 500 million renminbi grant that will finance the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella Pantaleon bridges, and the feasibility study for the Davao City expressway project.
It will also support the provision of radio and broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office and the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase III. (CSL)