The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC) as a producer of hybrid rice seeds and by-product (palay) under the agriculture/agribusiness and fishery listing of the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

The Php450 million project is located at Matanao, Davao del Sur. Its hybrid rice, seed production (9 million kilos a year) and palay (1.6 million a year) will be sold to local farmers. Commercial operations begins this month (March 2017), employing about 7,000 people which includes farm workers.

Hybrid rice technology is recognized as a key approach in increasing rice productivity in the country. Since the government’s launching of the Hybrid Rice Commercialization Program in 2002, project proponents from both the public and private sectors have introduced various hybrid rice seed varieties. To further sustain rice production and availability to the public, SLAC is taking advantage of this opportunity by concentrating in hybrid seed production known as AxR.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo welcomed the registration of the project saying it will create more jobs and income opportunities for farmers in Mindanao, specifically those in the Davao region. He also believes that given the country’s limited land to expand the hectarage of rice production, using hybrid seeds which increase farmers’ yield, rather than the conventional or regular seeds, is an excellent approach to further increase rice production.

SL Agritech will use its own parental seeds in its production of SL-8H hybrid rice seed. The company says SL-8H has proven to be productive in terms of yield versus other hybrid rice seeds in the market with a potential yield of 8 to 18 tons and a record-yield of 17 tons per hectare. With its resounding success, some Asian countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia have adopted the SL-8H hybrid rice seeds technology.

The company to date already has three hybrid rice and hybrid seed production sites operating in the country which are registered with BOI. These processing facilities are in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Lupon, Davao Oriental; and Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

SLAC was established in September 2000 under the stewardship of the Sterling Paper Group of Companies. Although a relative newcomer in the rice industry, the company has excelled in the local and international markets. It is an ISO-certified rice company and is considered the biggest domestic hybrid rice seed company and one of the largest in Asia being one of the market leaders in premium quality rice.