Three hours from traffic-choked Manila is the Science City of Muñoz in the province of Nueva Ecija, a land of lush greenery and known as the center of agricultural research and innovation in the Philippines.
Training (PhilSCAT), launched in 2003 and a result of technical cooperation between China and the Philippines. The program’s aim is to explore the potential of Chinese hybrid rice varieties in the country, as well as introduce China’s modernized farming technologies to local farmers. The center is a 10-hectare property composed of buildings that serve as a workshop, lodging for Chinese experts and office space for PhilSCAT staff members. Part of the property is an experimental land area for hybrid seed varieties.
While other Chinese aid-funded projects here have come under fire for alleged corruption, PhilSCAT’s work has avoided such accusations.
The center is a rare development program between China and the Philippines. In its office lobby is a wall-to-ceiling painting showing two white birds and a shower of rice grains on Philippine farmers. On the adjacent wall hangs a plaque that says, in Filipino, that the artwork serves as a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
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