PhilRice program awarded $100,000

Posted at 02/28/2013 1:12 AM | Updated as of 02/28/2013 1:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) was awarded $100,000 (approximately P4 million) by the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), a non-profit Arab region development organization based in Riyadh.

PhilRice was named AGFUND's winner in the government category at a recent ceremony held in Fairmont Hotel, Makati City.

PhilRice aims to dish out information in an open academy for farmers and agriculture professionals. The project also offers assistance through mobile text messaging, thus allowing them to reach more farmers in the country.

According to Roger Barroga, program leader of PhilRice, he is glad that the project is recognized and he will use the financial award to further broaden and improve PhilRice.

The awards handed out by AGFUND are divided into 4 different categories that are derived from 53 projects from 37 countries in 4 continents.

The first category is the UN (United Nations supported) program ($200,000), the second is for NGO supported programs ($150,000), then the third category for programs which are government implemented ($100,000), and lastly, programs which are produced by individuals ($50,000).

AGFUND is spearheaded by Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, President of AGFUND and brother of the King of Saudi Arabia.

In a press conference, Prince Talal said he is looking forward to make more investments here in the Philippines like the upcoming “bank for the poor,” which will provide more job opportunities for Filipinos.

He also said that he personally chose the Philippines as the host for the AGFUND 2013 Awards Ceremony.

This is the first time that the Philippines has been chosen as a venue for the annual awards ceremonies. Other countries that have hosted the event are Geneva, Paris, New Delhi, Tunis, Cape Town, Warsaw, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and Kuala Lumpur.

Vice President Jejomar Binay also attended the event. He and Prince Talal distributed the awards.

Binay is known for his close ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. -- Report from Justin Carlo Ponti, ABS-CBN News