Hybrid rice producer SL AgriTech Corp. (SLAC) is shipping out this month its maiden export of Doña Maria rice to Oman, a major trading center in the Middle East that augurs well for Philippines’ rice export prospects.
SLAC Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong said that the export of 19.33 metric tons (MT) of Doña Maria Jasponica and Miponica rice to Muscat, Oman, is only the start of more exports to a state that observes Halal food safety processes.
“The Department of Agriculture’s export program initiated since May 2013, initially to Dubai, has paved the way to this further export,” Lim said.
Muscat has been known in history to be an important trading center between Asia and Europe-North America. It had been ruled in olden times by Persians (now Iran) and Portuguese.
Earlier, SLAC exported some 19.45 million MT of hybrid rice to California.
Besides table-grade rice, SLAC also exported seeds as part of its support to promote Filipino-grown rice.
“Our Doña Maria rice is now available in the US and the Middle East, placing our local rice brand in the world market. We have partnered with one of the biggest retail outlets in Europe to promote our rice,” Lim said.
At present, SLAC’s contract growing of Doña Maria rice allows farmers to plant high-quality hybrid rice without shelling out cash.
SLAC provides the seeds and inputs (fertilizers). SLAC also assures farmers of a stable market for their produce as it buys all rice production and at a price around P2 to P3 a kilo higher than market prices.
In order to expand its seed production in the Philippines, SLAC is seeking assistance from the DA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other agencies in identifying a contiguous area of land.
“Private companies like SLAC needs a lot of assistance from the government on infrastructure, farm to market roads, irrigation facilities, and credit provision in order to expand its local seed production activity,” Lim said.