A total of Php276 million worth of agricultural machines were distributed to 67 qualified farmers cooperatives and associations (FCAs) during the turn-over ceremony held on November 10 in Sara, Iloilo province.

The agricultural machines were distributed under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Mechanization Program by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech).

Dr. Baldwin G. Jallorina, PHilMech Director IV, challenged the FCAs to be good stewards of machines given to them for free to achieve the RCEF-Mechanization Program’s goals of reducing production costs and postharvest losses.

“Ingatan, pagyamanin at gamitin ng tama ang mga makinaryang inyong matatanggap upang magamit natin sa mahabang panahon at upang mapababa ang production cost at postharvest losses. Sapagkat ito ang mga goal ng programa ng RCEF-Mechanization Program (Be good stewards of the agricultural machines you have received and use these properly, so all of you can benefit from the machines over the long term and reduce production cost at postharvest losses. As this is the goal of the RCEF-Mechanization Program),” he said.

The Php276-million worth of machines are expected to benefit a total of 10,452 farmer members belonging to the 42 municipalities and one city in the province namely, New Lucena, Leganes, Pavia, Oton, Tigbauan, Miag-ao, Igbaras, San Joaquin, Tubungan, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Sta. Barbara, Zarraga, Mina, Bingawan, Badiangan, Calinog, Cabatuan, Pototan, Maasin, Janiuay, Lambunao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Anilao, Dueñas, Dumangas, Passi City, San Enrique, Dingle, San Rafael, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, San Dionisio, Batad, Balasan, Estancia, Carles, Lemery, Concepcion, and Sara.

The 241 units of distributed machines include Four Wheel Tractors, Hand Tractor, Floating Tillers, PTO Driven Disc Plows/Harrows, Precision Rice Seeders, Riding Type Rice Transplanters, Rice Reapers, Rice Combine Harvesters, Recirculating Dryers, Single Pass Rice Mills, Multi-Stage Rice Mills, and Destoners.

Director Remelyn R. Recoter of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 6, municipal and the provincial agriculturists, and various local officials of Iloilo were present during the turnover ceremony.

The RCEF-Mechanization Program was funded through the provisions of the Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act 11203 principally authored by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.

These machinery grants distributed in Iloilo province were procured under the 2021 funds and the excess of 2019 and 2020 funds as a result of the competitive biddings.

Article by Mark Dheniel A. Gutierrez

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