CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – To further enhance rice production and augment the income of rice farmers in Lanao del Norte, the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) distributed around P25.6 million worth of farm machineries and equipment to six farmer cooperatives, associations (FCAs) in Lanao del Norte on Thursday, August 27.

Leading the turnover were Engr. Edgar B. Testa, Head of DA-PhilMech Mindanao Cluster A, Provincial LDN Agriculture Officer Letecia Diticulan, DA-RFO 10 Field Operations Division OIC-Chief, Audy Maagad, with DA-RFO 10 Provincial Operations Center OIC-Chief in Lanao del Norte, Engr. Abdulharis P. Paporo.

The FCAs from the towns of Baroy, Maigo, Lala, Kapatagan and Salvador availed the farm machineries and equipment comprising of four-wheel drive tractors, hand tractors, floating tiller, riding-type transplanter, combine harvester and rice mill which will be used for land preparation and postharvest activities of the rice farmers.

Said intervention is an aid for rice farmers who were affected by the low-buying price of palay in effect, of the full implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law or the Republic Act No. 11203.

Engr. Testa emphasized, the program is intended to increase farm productivity of eligible rice farmer-groups listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), with at least 50 hectares of irrigated rice farmlands.

The six FCAs include the following, MARSADATES Irrigators Association (IA); Patcusilangka IA; Butadon Solar Dryer with Warehouse and Rice Mill Association; Palay Check Panaliwad-on Farmers Association; Manan-ao Rice Growers Association and Segapod Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative, will benefit the agri-interventions of the department, funded under the mechanization component of RCEF.

Reportedly, Lanao del Norte is one of the largest rice-producing provinces in Northern Mindanao next to Bukidnon, with about 16,177 hectares of rice farmlands.

Given with the full grant machinery from DA-PhilMech, PAO Ditucalan urged the recipients to provide shed for the machineries for its safekeeping. #(Edgar M. Bentulan, Jr.)