Mr. Henry Lim Bon Liong believes that addressing selfsufficiency in rice production will help largely agricultural countries such as the Philippines. This inspired him to establish his latest venture — SL Agritech.
SL Agritech is one of the forerunners of the Philippines’ own hybrid rice program. Though difficult to accomplish, successfully cultivating hybrid rice would reap greater yields than ordinary varieties. Mr. Lim bought 40 hectares of land in Laguna which he converted into a research and development facility and demonstration farm. In 2003, the company was able to develop SL-8H, the Philippines’ first hybrid rice variety.
To date, the company has three other seed production farms with a total land size of 1,500 hectares. As of 2004, it has distributed hybrid rice seeds to about 100,000 hectares of farmland, almost 50% of the 230,000 hectares of hybrid rice area in the country. The success of SL-8H led to the company’s accreditation by institutions like the International Rice Research Institute, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and the National Seed Industry Council.
The company exports rice to Switzerland and Dubai, and is considering exporting to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Africa. Plans are underway to cater to the fancy rice needs of hotels and fine dining restaurants. Mr. Lim would also like to extend the company’s reach to poverty-stricken and war-torn Mindanao.
SL Agritech’s vision, “rice technology for mankind,” is something that Mr. Lim takes to heart. He is convinced that the technology he has introduced could be an answer to the country’s widespread poverty and hunger. He also believes that the technology can generate more jobs and improve Filipino farmers’ economic and living conditions. Moreover, the technology uses environment-friendly farming and pest management practices to help preserve agricultural land for generations to come.