More than Php164M worth of production machinery and postharvest facilities under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program were granted to its new owners during its most recent machinery distribution at the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Center (INAFEC), Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on February 24, 2023.

A total of 41 units of machines were procured from the 2021 to 2022 RCEF funds and is expected to benefit various rice farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) from the province.

These machines include 8 units of rice combine harvesters, 16 units of walk-behind transplanters, 1 unit of precision rice seeder, 3 units of mobile rice mill, 7 units of recirculating dryers (6T), 2 units of single pass rice mill, 1 unit of multi-pass rice mill (2-3 tph), and 1 unit of multi-pass rice mill (4-5 tph).

Thirty qualified FCAs from Laoag City and 14 municipalities namely Burgos, Pasuquin, Bacarra, Piddig, Vintar, Sarrat, Badoc, Banna, Currimao, Dingras, Marcos, Nueva Era, Paoay, and Solsona were the recipients of the program.

The distribution was graced by Hon. Matthew Marcos Manotoc, Governor of Ilocos Province; and Hon. Angelo Marcos Barba, Representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte.

PHilMech was represented by its OIC-Assistant Director, Dr. Ofero A. CapariΓ±o; and Luzon A cluster head, Engr. Domingo Miranda.

Governor Manotoc expressed his belief that these machinery grants will be of great aid to the lack of technologies and mechanization in the province.

“We are grateful to PHilMech and the Department of Agriculture led by our President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban. This is timely and inline with our thrust dahil nakikita namin na mababa talaga ang yield and efficiency ng aming mga mannalon (farmer) because of lack of technologies and mechanization. With this, we hope to continue working with PHilMech”, he said.

Meanwhile, PHilMech Dir. CapariΓ±o encourages the farmers to properly use the machinery grants for the utilization of future farmers of Ilocos Norte. He also urged them to support the Youth for Mechanization (Y4M) of PHilMech which aims to rebrand the image of agriculture, at the same time, transform the future of Philippine agriculture.

Moreover, farmer beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to PHilMech and the support of the government to the farmers.

Gusto po namin i-alay ang aming pasasalamat sa PHilMech sa mga makinarya na ibinibigay through RCEF Mechanization Program. Pangangalagaan po namin ang mga makinaryang ito para ang adhikain ng gobyerno na pababain ang gastos sa pagsasaka ay makamit namin”, said Mency V. Tolentino, Chairperson of the Bacarra Zaiyera Irrigators Multi-purpose Cooperative. (Angeline Poco, FB DA-PhilMech)