A total of P142.5 million-worth of farm machineries were distributed among 71 farmers cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in Nueva Ecija under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund’s (RCEF) Mechanization Program of Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) on May 6, 2022.
The RCEF, made possible through the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL), aims to improve rice production in the country by distributing seeds and machineries and offering extension programs and credit support.
Under RCEF mechanization, farmers benefitted from reduced production costs and postharvest losses through the use of modern farming technologies.
Among the distributed farm technologies were four-wheel tractors, hand tractors, precision seeders, walk-behind and riding-type transplanters, reapers, rice combine harvesters, and mobile dryers.
As the country’s top producer of rice, Nueva Ecija boasts an average production of 15 tons per hectare according to PHilMech Director Dionisio Alvindia.
It is also the top producer of hybrid rice in the Philippines, dedicating more than six hectares of farmlands for hybrid rice production.
“Ito na po ang tinatawag nating biyaya ng RTL. Ngayon, nakikita natin ang patuloy na pagtaas ng produksyon ng ating palay,” Alvindia said.
In his message during the event, Agriculture Secretary William Dar assured that the RCEF – Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program will resume after the May 9 national election until the end of the current government’s term of office.
The RCEF-RFFA grants P5,000 worth of financial assistance per rice farmer tilling 0.5 to two hectares of farmlands. Beneficiaries should be registered in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
“Makakaasa po kayo na gagawin ng ating mahal na Pangulo ang lahat ng makakaya para mapabuti ang inyong buhay at kabuhayan. Kami din pong mga miyembro ng gabinete, gagawin po namin kung ano po ang puwedeng makarating na tulong hanggang June 30, 2022,” he assured.
He also reiterated the need to enhance food production in the country, especially with the challenges brought by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia crisis. “Nakikiusap po kami ngayon ulit na paigtingin pa natin ang ating pagsasaka, pangingisda, at paghahayupan kasi mayroon tayong looming crisis. At dahil sa pagsusumikap ng mga magsasaka na laging may sapat tayong pagkain sa bansa, sana’y hindi na ito madama ng mamamayang Pilipino.” (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)