The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) awarded on Tuesday various agricultural machines worth P240 million to farmers cooperatives and associations, and local government units in Isabela province.

PHilMech is an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Representing PHilMech Director Dionisio Alvindia, Interim Director for Operations Joel Dator said the continuous distribution of farm machines was an offshoot of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) that gave birth to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Mechanization Program.

He said this is because the mechanization component of the RCEF gets half of the P10-billion annual tariff collected under the RTL.

This project is to support the hard work and perseverance of our farmers, and help them in their farming,” Dator said as he challenged the recipients to take good care of their farm machines.

I hope you use them correctly and properly so that future generations can benefit from them,” he added.

Also representing Gov. Rodito Albano 3rd and Rep. Antonio Albano, Isabela Board Member Emmanuel Anes thanked the Agriculture department through PHilMech for the machineries received for the province.

He said this move of the government supports Isabela’s program on food production and in uplifting the economic lives of their constituents.

It is the desire of our officials in the province of Isabela to further develop the livelihood of our farmers, which is why we are so thankful for what the DA is doing in this province,” Anes said.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, through a video message, said that RTL shall contribute to leveling up the lives of rice farmers.

“I hope that the distribution of the machineries funded by RCEF will continue so that the livelihoods in the rural areas will also improve,” said Villar, who authored the RTL. Villar was represented by her staff, Malyn Galang.

Meanwhile, DA Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) Executive Director Narciso Edillo said the administration of President and concurrent Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is aiming for rice self-sufficiency within his term.

Thus, Edillo said the department is now providing rice farmers with seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, loans, training, postharvest facilities and various farm machines.

We must meet the needs of the ballooning population by increasing not only our production but also the processing of our products for greater yields and profits,” he added. (Leander C. Domingo, The Manila Times)