Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian has commended the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology for its efforts to overcome the difficulties and ensure the orderly implementation of the program amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
In a video conference on Tuesday, Huang lauded the center for the progress it has made over the years, saying that its three phases of technical cooperation programs being implemented “sets a good example of the bilateral agricultural cooperation and contributed to the agricultural development and livelihood improvement in the Philippines.”
In light of the severity of COVID-19, Huang advised the Center to take a “targeted and scientific approach” by modifying their management strategies in accordance with the evolving pandemic situation and ensure the safety of its staff and employees.
On February 5, at the onset of the pandemic in many countries including the Philippines, the center held a conference to plan out the prevention and control measures and have adjusted their working plan, adopted flexible time schedules, taken the stringent management over the on-site staff, provided all the staff with sufficient anti-pandemic supplies and sanitized the site on a daily basis.
The Chinese Embassy said 90 percent of the Center’s Chinese and Filipino staffers are now working on a program that has resumed 90 percent capacity, with no confirmed COVID-19 case.
In October 2018, the Center launched the Technical Cooperation Program (Phase III) which completed training tasks ahead of schedule. So far, it has provided 1,334 Filipino trainees with on-site technological training such as hybrid rice seeding, cultivation and mechanical transplanting, and activities like Farmer Fields Days.
Over the past three cropping seasons, the Chinese Embassy reported that the program has cultivated 5,960 pieces of breeding materials with improved crop traits, 3,239 test mating pairs, and 1,958 heterosis combinations. It then selected 58 hybrid heterosis combinations and nine combinations with excellent traits such as high yields, good quality, and high resistance.
The program has established techno-demo farms with a total area of 34 hectares in provinces such as Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Davao Oriental, cultivating five varieties of hybrid rice and achieving a yield 20 percent more than the local ones.
It has also built up a large-scale hybrid rice planting demonstration site of 260 hectares and provided the on-site agricultural services for over 730 farming households. So far, it has produced a total of 18,000 hectares of hybrid rice, increased the yield by 21,000 tons and brought benefits to over 9,370 households.