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China grants P226M for hybrid rice project

China will be providing 27.52 million renminbi or about P226.93 million for a project that will modernize the Philippines’ hybrid rice center and help boost the country’s palay production, the Finance department announced on Friday.

An exchange of letters for the grant was signed last Tuesday in China by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, the department said in a statement.

The funds will be used for Phase III of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Philippines’ Agricultural Technology Center, which is being implemented by the Agriculture department.

It would “contribute in boosting the rice production capacity of the Philippines towards rice sufficiency by upgrading the Philippine Sino Center for Agricultural Technology’s hybrid rice technology research and demonstration center into a modern hybrid rice breeding station and technology demonstration center,” the Finance department said.

This grant is one of several accords signed by Dominguez on behalf of the government during President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Hainan, China for the Boao Forum. It is part of an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation covering a $79-million grant for at least four other projects being undertaken by the Philippines in cooperation with China.

The Philippines and China signed a total of six new deals at the sidelines of the annual forum.

Dominguez also signed the $62-million (about P3.135 billion) Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement on the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

The DoF said the dollar-denominated loan agreement for the Chico river project, which will be implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), covered 85 percent of the total project cost of $83.89 million (about P4.372 billion).

The interest rate on the loan was set at 2 percent per annum with a maturity period of 20 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace period.

The National Economic and Development Authority said the project would provide a stable water supply for 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.

The economic and technical cooperation deal, meanwhile, involves a 500-million renminbi grant (about $79 million or P4.13 billion) to finance the following:

• the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella Pantaleon bridges in Metro Manila (264.8 million renminbi, partial funding);

• the feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project (25.83 m

illion renminbi);

• the provision of radio and broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (17.82 million renminbi); and

• the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase III (27.52 million renminbi).

The total grant for these four projects amounts to 335.97 million renminbi.

The remaining 164.03 million renminbi will be used to finance other projects, the Finance department said.

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