A JAPANESE firm has set up shop in the Philippines to manufacture packed and ready-to-eat rice for Covid-19 and other emergencies, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
In a statement, Jica said BiotechJp Corp. (BTJP) is using low-protein rice technology and established a factory in Tarlac. Jica said this was made possible by its partnership with private firms which aim to share innovations to address development problems in other countries.
“There are 73 projects which have been implemented with Philippine counterparts to help create jobs and find solutions to common problems in the country, while expanding their business. It’s a win-win relationship,” Jica Philippines Senior Representative Ohshima Ayumu said.
Jica supported BTJP in introducing low-protein rice technology in the Philippines to address the growing cases of chronic kidney diseases (CKDs) in the country.
The low-protein rice technology helps delay progression of CKD and consequently reduces the costs of medical treatments of patients.
The technology is also able to bring benefits to Filipino farmers by adding value to their rice products, according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
“For markets like Japan, the pandemic prompted an increase for packed rice products which is also fueled by consumers resorting to online platforms for convenience and safety.” said Egawa Kiyosada, President of BTJP.
The factory has a daily production capacity of 20,000 rice packs and will help BTJP meet the demand of a growing market for packed rice.
Apart from the low-protein rice, BTJP has also introduced other variants such as ready-to-eat packed rice with a one-year shelf life that makes it ideal for emergency situations.
The BTJP project in Tarlac is part of the Rice Revolution 21 program that aims to develop the province’s rice supply chain and is also a partnership with the Yuchengco Group, PhilRice, and Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).
This year, back-to-back typhoons and torrential rains left thousands of Filipinos in Bicol, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cagayan, Isabela, and other parts of the country without access to basic goods, relying on stocked food supplies and emergency relief packages.