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P300-m biotech center in N. Ecija

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija—The Department of Agriculture will build the country's biggest biotechnology center at the Philippine Rice Research Institute here, which would generate more technologies and innovations for farm management.

Dr. Roel R. Suralta, head rop Biotechnology Center and one of the proponents of the project, said the goal of constructing the center is to generate improved technologies, increase productivity, and enhance the commercial value of the department’s priority crops, such as rice, abaca, coconut, white and yellow corn, cotton, cassava, sweet potato, yam, tomato, and eggplant.

The center will not only provide equipment and facilities, but also training and support to the Filipino researchers who will venture into biotechnology, Suralta added.

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

More than P300 million has been raised to build the state-of the-art laboratories and facilities.

The United States government granted the funding for the facility 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 P25 million came from PhilRice,” Suralta added.

He said the budget will cover the construction of new buildings, purchase 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.

Topics: biotechnology center , Nueva Ecija , Department of Agriculture , Philippine Rice Research Institute

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