SL Agritech Corp., the country’s top hybrid rice producer, listed P2 billion worth of commercial paper in Philippine Dealing Exchange Corp. Friday to fund its precedent setting rice self-sufficiency program.
SL Agritech chairman and chief executive officer Dr. Henry Lim Bon-Liong led the ceremonial ringing of the bell, along with PDS Group president Ma. Theresa Ravalo at the function room of the PDS’ office to signify the start of trading for the company’s debt notes that were four times oversubscribed.
The company will use part of the proceeds of the commercial paper float to finance the purchase of palay from farmers and the production of hybrid seeds. The hybrid seeds will be advanced to farmers and be offset against their palay harvest.
Agritech considers itself a social enterprise that aims to alleviate the lives of farmers with its operational activities. Hybrid rice raises the palay harvest of farmers to eight to 12 tons per hectare compared with three to four tons of conventional rice.
Lim said the way forward for the farmers affected by the Rice Tariffication Law was to “adapt the hybrid rice technology,” adding the company’s “Doña Maria” rice brand was not affected by the law and remained at “top of mind” of rice buyers.
Even with Rice Tariffication Law, farmers using the company’s seed varieties as well as contract growers are reaping the benefit of the hybrid rice seed technology, Lim said after the ceremonial bell ringing.
He said with the increase in demand for seeds and rice, most of the proceeds of the CP would be used to help farmers grossly affected by the recent development to shift to hybrid rice seed technology.
SL Agritech earlier launched its Masaganang Ani 300 program ,where farmers who use the hybrid rice seeds vie for the Top Ten producers of at least 300 cavans of palay per hectare. The Top Ten farmers are to be feted in ceremonies set in Malacañang Palace with President Duterte honoring the winning farmers.