A total of Php24M worth of farm machines were distributed to 21 qualified Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs), during the machinery turn-over of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund in Banga, South Cotabato on February 11, 2022 .

A sum of 2,582 farmer-members from 11 cities/municipalities in South Cotabato will benefit from the farm machines distributed under 2019, 2020, and 2021 funds.

The 31 units of machines include 17 floating tillers, 9 combine harvesters, and 5 four-wheel-drive tractors. Municipalities included in the program are Banga, Koronadal City, Norala, Surallah, Tantangan, Lake Sebu, Sto. Niño, T’boli, Tupi, Polomolok and General Santos City.

Rudy Jimenea, head executive assistant of the office of the Governor, city and municipal agriculturists, and various local government agencies and officials attended the turnover and awarding ceremony.

“We need, as farmers, the new technology for farming. Whether we admit it or not, the traditional techniques (in farming) cannot sustain and are almost not practiced in these times,” Jimenea said.

“These machines will help our farmers in lowering the production cost, increase their savings and achieve faster farm operations compared to manual labor. We hope that you will take good care of these machines, so your members can experience the benefits of farm mechanization,” said Engr. Ray Adarna, Mindanao B Cluster Head of PHilMech.

Some FCA-beneficiaries have expressed their gratitude during the turnover ceremony.

“We are really glad because we did not expect to receive these machines today and we feel that these will be of big help to us, farmers, and to our association. We are thankful, first of all, to the staff of PHilMech who really went to our office to do consistent follow-ups and assistance. Without these machines, harvesting of rice will take us a whole day of work, but with these it will only take an hour for our work to be done,” said Apolonio Mayuga, IA President.

“We are very happy and thankful because we really need these in our farming activities, especially in land preparation. PHilMech’s program is very good because they really serve the farmers by improving the quality of our lives. We really need mechanization in our area,” said Gloria Vefante, Chairman of Guinsang-an Farmers Service Cooperative.

Article by Judy Ann Golez

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