About 600 farmers in Aurora Province of the Philippines received 10 metric tons of hybrid rice seeds donated by the Chinese Embassy on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China on December 16. A similar donation was made two days ago to 650 farmers in Ilocos Norte Province. This is the fourth time that the Chinese side made donations of rice seeds to the Philippine farmers since 2014.
H.E. Zhao Jianhua, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of the Philippines, sent over his remarks to the turn-over ceremony. "As a country prone to typhoon-related disasters each year, China, in a deeply sympathizing way, feels for our Filipino friends in Aurora and our thoughts are always with those families most affected by the tropical storms. Please stay assured, in such difficult times, a helping hand is all that the Chinese government and people have to render. In the purpose of helping the local farmers of Aurora rehabilitate rice fields and their livelihood, the Chinese Embassy would hereby, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, donate 10 metric tons of Longping LP 205 hybrid rice seeds to Aurora Province. We sincerely hope that this humble share of assistance would contribute to the farmers' endeavor to recover from their losses and the even greater cause, under the strong leadership of Governor Noveras, to rebuild Aurora Province in a prompt and smooth manner."
On behalf of the people of Aurora Province, Governor Gerardo Noveras expressed gratitude to the timely assistance from the Chinese government and people. For his part, Governor Noveras said, "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 also mentioned that the donation arrived just in time to meet the farmers' needs, as it is now the best time of the year for sowing and planting. Aside from the seeds donated, the Chinese Embassy also provided technical assistance. "If the production is ideal, the government of Aurora Province will purchase more Longping hybrid rice seeds for our farmers to expand the plantation," he said.
After the ceremony, the rice experts from the Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) conducted a training course on LP205 and LP331 hybrid rice planting for the local farmers.
Aurora Province, located in eastern-most part of Central Luzon, is one of the heavily damaged provinces by recent typhoons "Karen" and "Lawin". About 220,000 people were affected with up to 7000 hectares of rice fields damaged. The estimate loss in infrastructure and agriculture adds up to 800 million pesos.