The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to launch a joint project between the Philippines and Israel to ramp up rice production and marketing in the country.
In a briefing, the DA said Mima Tech, an Israel-based private firm, has set aside $100 million to support the establishment of state-of-the-art rice mills, soil rejuvenation technologies, irrigation systems, fertilization and spraying techniques and seed cultivation.
Mima Tech provides the finances while Yovel builds the facilities, purchase the produce and make available its marketing services.
As for fund management, Mima Tech will work closely with the Land Bank of the Philippines and with local government units to familiarize farmers on plant processes before the plants are fully handed over to them.
Mima Tech CEO Isidor Gilan and Yovel president and CEO James Amparo said they are ready to deploy funds and invest on various rice technologies.
Financial aid is also part of the package where Mima Tech will raise 80 to 100 percent of the necessary resources. Loans will be available as well, payable in 8 to 10 years at a maximum of four percent annual interest rate.
According to Gilan, the successful implementation of the project should result in significant improvement in rice quality, lower production costs and increase yield, thereby increasing the profits of rice farmers.
Amparo said the project wants to help farmers cope with the effects of the Rice Tariffication Law even as it also hopes to cover other crops and commodities.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he supports the venture, noting it will help speed up and operationalize the provincial agriculture extension systems.
Dar urges Mima Tech to deploy the project at the top ten rice-producing provinces of the country.
“Farming should be treated as business undertakings and that the private sector should be engaged in investing and setting up agri-based industries and developing markets for agricultural products,” Dar said.