Around 5,340 rice farmers who belong to 30 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in Western Visayas (Region 6) received P145-M worth of machinery grants today, September 16, during the turn-over ceremony held at Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center, Iloilo City, Iloilo.

These machines are provided under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program implemented by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech).

Dr. Baldwin G. Jallorina, PHilMech director, graced the turn-over ceremony and explained how the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) made it possible for farmers to access free and efficient rice machines.

“Ang mga makinarya pong ito ay nanggaling sa Rice Tariffication Law na minsan ay binatikos na walang maitututulong sa mga magsasaka at sinasabi pa nila na anti-farmer. Ito na po ang mga ayuda na nanggagaling sa RTL na may pondong nakalaan na sampung bilyong piso kada taon,” said Director Jallorina.

Nandito na tayo sa wakas na ating mapapamigay at mapapasa inyo ang ating inaasahang galing sa RCEF. Bagama’t naantala po ito dahil sa pandemya, hindi tayo dapat huminto dahil kung tayong magsasaka ang huminto sa ating gawain, marami pong magugutom,” he added.

Included in the multi-million worth machines are 27 units of four-wheel drive tractor, 49 units of hand tractor, 64 units of floating tillers, 10 units of rice precision seeder, 29 units of rice combine harvester, 7 units of walk-behind mechanical rice transplanter, 12 units of mechanical rice transplanter, 4 units of rice reaper, 6 units of mini thresher and 3 units of mobile rice mill.

These machines are funded under the P2-B 2019 budget. Meanwhile, the P3-B 2019 and P5-B 2020 budgets are underway and expected to be completed before the year ends.

Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter of the DA Regional Field Office VI and Assistant Secretary for Visayas Atty. Hansel O. Didulo were also present during the turn-over ceremony.

Article by Jett Molech G. Subaba