THE Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has procured 20,076 units of various farm machines worth P14.88 billion under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program.

In a statement, PhilMech said that as of June 15, 2022, the agency had attained 98 percent in terms of delivery since the agency physically started giving out agricultural equipment in June 2020. This benefited more than 6,000 qualified farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and local government units nationwide.

PHilMech Director Dr. Dionisio Alvindia said the latest distribution figures under the RCEF-Mechanization Program demonstrates that the agency is ready to sustain the program under the incoming Marcos administration, and contribute to the Philippines attaining food sovereignty.

He noted that PHilMech had to deal with Covid-19 restrictions when it started distributing farm machines from June 2020. However, he said that the agency will continue to accelerate the distribution of farm machines under the incoming administration if health restrictions are further eased in the countryside.

As the new administration is about to assume office under President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., we, at PHilMech, vow to sustain the agency’s mandate of distributing various farm equipment to qualified farmers’ cooperatives and associations so the country’s rice sector can increase their productivity, which will help the country’s food security and sovereignty,” Alvindia said.

The 20,076 units of various farm machines procured as of June 15, 2022 were covered by funding for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. Under Republic Act 11203 or the “Rice Tariffication Law,” PHilMech gets P5 billion annually from 2019 to 2024 for the distribution of farm machines to qualified FCAs at no cost.

Of the 20,076 units of farm machines procured, P6.579 billion were for land preparation or four-wheel tractors (4,073 units), hand tractors (4,746 units), floating tillers (1,947 units) and disc plow/harrows (114 units).

Farm machines distributed for crop establishment had a total cost of P2.254 billion for precision seeders (182 units), walk-behind transplanters (1,735 units) and riding-type transplanters (695 units).

The total cost of farm machines distributed for harvesting and threshing reached P5.616 billion for combine harvesters (2,787 units), reapers (2,085 units) and threshers (1,307 units).

Also, the total cost of farm machines distributed for postharvest reached P434.644 million for mobile rice mills (302 units), impeller mills (31 units), recirculating dryers (28 units), multi-pass mills (14 units), mobile dryers (6 units) and single-pass rice mills (24 units). (Eireene Jairee Gomez, The Manila Time)