Farmers in Negros Occidental received equipment, worth P41.76 million, as part of the Farm Mechanization Program of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas to enable rice resiliency and competitiveness.
Thirty-five four-wheel tractors, 49 hand tractors, 80 floating tillers, 10 precision seeders, seven walk-behind type transplanters, four reapers, 37 rice combine harvesters, six mini threshers, and three rice mills, all worth P193.7-million, were distributed to 38 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in the five provinces of Region 6 Wednesday.
These interventions formed part of the P650-million 2019 budget for the Farm Mechanization Program of the RCEF for the region, the DA 6 said in a press release.
Iloilo province with 18 FCAs got the biggest chunk of about P89.12-million worth of farm machinery, and eight in Negros Occidental. DA-PhilMech aided five FCAs in Aklan with P26.26 million in farm equipment, and four associations in Antique and three in Capiz got P20.91 million and P15.73 million in equipment, respectively.
Under the 2020 budget from the Rice Tariffication Law, another P600 million of farm machinery support will be given to the rice farming sector in Western Visayas, executive director Baldwin Jallorina of the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) said during the mass distribution in Iloilo City.
Fifty percent of the annual P10-billion rice fund for the next six years is allocated for the farm mechanization program in order to help the farmers reduce their production cost and postharvest losses, thereby increasing their income and productivity, the press release said.
DA Western Visayas regional executive director Remelyn Recoter said the region’s rice production in the first semester of 2020 is 81,000 metric tons higher compared to that of last year’s performance.
With the recent signing of the Bayanihan Act 2, she said that more rice farmers will be able to avail of the seeds and fertilizer subsidies from the DA through the expanded Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), an initiative under the DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra Covid-19 program which intends to boost local rice production as a mitigating measure to fight hunger amid the global health emergency.
Assistant Secretary for Visayas, Hansel Didulo, said 230 FCAs or more than 40,000 farmer-members in the Philippines had, so far, received 1,421 farm machinery and equipment from DA-PhilMech.
Other components under RCEF include high-quality rice seed development and distribution, training and extension services, and credit programs with PhilRice, Agricultural Training Institute, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines as implementing agencies, the press release added.*