THE Chinese government has donated 10 metric tons of hybrid rice seeds to about 600 farmers in Aurora province, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said the donation was Beijing’s way of sympathizing with Filipino farmers hit by typhoons.
“Please stay assured, in such difficult times, a helping hand is all that the Chinese government and people have to render,” the diplomat said during the turnover ceremony.
Aurora province, located in the eastern-most part of Central Luzon, was hit hard by typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” with about 220,000 people affected. Damage in infrastructure and agriculture was pegged at P800 million.
“We sincerely hope that this humble share of assistance would contribute to the farmers’ endeavor to recover from their losses,” Zhao said.
Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras said the donation arrived just in time since it is the season for sowing and planting.
“It is really unexpected that the response from the Chinese Embassy to our request for seed donation was so rapid. I had the thought that it might take a year before we receive any assistance,” he said.
The Chinese Embassy also provided technical assistance to the farmers.
“If the production is ideal, the government of Aurora province will purchase more Longping hybrid rice seeds for our farmers to expand the plantation,” the governor said.
After the ceremony, the rice experts from the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) conducted a training course on LP205 and LP331 hybrid rice planting for the local farmers.
The Chinese Embassy made a similar donation on Wednesday to 650 farmers in Ilocos Norte. This is the fourth time that the Chinese government donated rice seeds to Philippine farmers since 2014.
P100M for livelihood programs
Also on Friday, Zhao signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on cooperation programs related to livelihood projects in the Philippines.
The Chinese Embassy committed to provide P100 million to the DSWD for poverty relief and disaster response to improve the living standard of Filipinos in poverty-stricken areas, especially Davao region.
Taguiwalo said no conditions were attached to the assistance.
“This stands testimony to the earnest amity of the Chinese government and people to the Philippine people, and the great friendship between China and the Philippines,” the Chinese Embassy said in a news release. MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO