About 11,576 rice farmers in Central Luzon will benefit from the machinery grants under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Component.

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) evaluated, shortlisted and identified qualified beneficiaries who belonged to the 109 Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Bataan, Aurora and Zambales.

Machinery distributed to FCAs include 97 units of four-wheel drive tractors, 19 units hand tractors, four units of precision seeders, nine units of riding-type mechanical rice transplanters and 34 units of rice combine harvesters.

These machines worth Php253,559,000 are part of the 2-billion RCEF budget for 2019. Distribution of machines happen between June 4 to June 30 this year.

Engr. Danilo M. Gamalog, RCEF mechanization cluster head for Regions I and III, expects that the full-delivery of machines will be completed by August.

A total of 158 hand tractors and eight walk-behind mechanical rice transplanters are yet to be delivered to these FCAs from the 49 rice producing municipalities in the region.

Director Baldwin G. Jallorina, PHilMech Director IV, was present in all the turn-over ceremonies held in the seven provinces in the region. He encouraged FCAs to be the best FCA they can be and work alongside PHilMech in transforming the future of agriculture.

This program of PHilMech and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will last for six years. Hopes are high that this program will make Filipino farmers globally competitive in rice production and postproduction.

Meanwhile, interested FCAs who want to avail of the program can visit their municipal agriculturist or visit PHilMech website and Facebook page for the list of requirements.

Article by Jett Molech G. Subaba