The Philippine Star

P302-M biotech center to rise in Nueva Ecija

- – Louise Maureen Simeon

The Department of Agricultur­e (DA) is constructi­ng a P302 million biotechnol­ogy center that will serve as the hub for effective implementa­tion of technologi­cal advancemen­ts in the local farming sector.

Agricultur­e Secretary Emmanuel Pinol has approved the constructi­on of the facility which will rise in Munoz , Nueva Ecija.

Targeted for completion next year, the center will house laboratori­es, theater, and a multipurpo­se hall that can accommodat­e 500 to 800 people.

It shall also host biotechnol­ogy programs on other priority crops such as corn, coconut, coffee, sugarcane, and banana.

Majority of the funding or about P277 million will come from the US government through the Agricultur­al Trade Developmen­t and Assistance Act. The balance will come from the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The center will not only provide equipment and facilities, but also training and support to local researcher­s who will engage in the field of biotechnol­ogy.

It also aims to build a network among local and internatio­nal researcher­s to sustain and continuall­y advance biotechnol­ogy in the Philippine­s.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research (Searca) said the country’s biotechnol­ogy has improved farmers’ practices and income.

For one, Searca said farms planted with Bt maize have significan­tly higher population­s of beneficial insects such as flower bugs, beetles, and spiders than those planted with convention­al hybrid maize.

In rice research, biotechnol­ogy has shortened the breeding of the country’s staple food from 10-12 years to five to seven years and has produced more than 10 climate changeread­y varieties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines