CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Packages of farm machineries worth P10.4 million were turned over by the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) to farmer-cooperatives, associations (FCAs) cultivating rice in Misamis Oriental (MisOr).

In a turnover ceremony held at the Provincial MisOr Capitol Grounds on August 27, the roster of interventions handed over to Linugos Farmers Irrigators Association, Inc. of Brgy. Kibungsod, Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental included one unit each of four-wheel drive tractor, hand tractor, riding type transplanter and combine harvester.

Meanwhile, the Bal-ason Farmers Producers Cooperative, Inc. (BFPCI) of Brgy. Bal-ason, Gingoog City, was granted with one unit each of hand tractor, reaper, mobile rice mill, and mechanical dryer, and six units floating tiller.

Funded under the mechanization component of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the distribution of agri-machineries is the third distribution in Region 10 within the month, following the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte with an accumulated worth of P67.1 million rice mechanization interventions to 16 farmer-groups.

“Said distribution only represents about 40 percent of DA-PhilMech’s budget for 2019, while the remaining 60 percent [amounting to more than P16.5 million] for MisOr province, is still under procurement stage, and three more FCAs are being eyed as additional recipients,“ Carlene C. Collado, regional executive director of DA-Regional Field Office 10 said.

Apportioned with a yearly P5 billion budget under the P10 billion RCEF portfolio, brought about by the Rice Tariffication Law to be implemented for the 2019-2024 period, rice mechanization is seen to drum up across the country to increase productivity, reduce labor cost, increase income and strengthen the global competitiveness of rice farmers in a liberalized rice industry.

Based on DA-PhilMech data, up to 3 percent milling losses, 5 percent drying losses, and about 2-3 percent postharvest losses can be saved with the use of mechanized rice mills, mechanical dryers and combine harvesters, respectively.

It added, up to 10 percent increase in yield can be achieved with good crop growth and higher density planting using mechanical transplanter, while a significant increase in yield is also aimed with proper soil tillage and better land levelling with the use of tractors.

Nais ng programa [RCEF Mechanization] na isulong at ipakilala sa mga magsasakang Filipino ang paggamit ng mabisa at matipid na makinaryang pansaka. Nais din nitong mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang lahat ng magsasaka na makagamit nang angkop na makinarya sa produksyon ng palay hanggang sa makatapos-ani,” Engr. Baldwin G. Jallorina, Jr., PhilMech national director expressed, in a message, delivered by Engr. Edgar B. Testa, head of Mindanao Cluster A of DA-PhilMech.

Dir. Collado also challenged the province thru Governor Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano to have more FCAs accredited with DA, considering the two benefiting FCAs, comprising of 271 rice farmers.

Mao ning basehan nato kung kinsa ang makadawat og package of machineries under DA-PhilMech. This will now be the chance of our farmer organizations to be given with this kind of intervention, which has not been done in the previous years,” Collado noted.

He also appealed to the recipients to properly manage, operate and handle the farm machineries and equipment, with hopes to augment their income and livelihood, including non-members who may wish to avail of their services.

Meanwhile, Gov. Emano stressed, “Dako kaayo ang gihatag nga gahum sa inyo nga gi-abagan sa dako nga responsibilidad. Atong ipakita sa ilaa nga ang gigasto sa gobyerno nga mahimuslan pag-ayo. Ang gipangayo nga balos, areglahun, pangga-on ug mahalon ang mga makinarya ug ekipo ug motaas pod unta ang inyong abot ug kita.”

Lolita Sanico, BFPCI president responded, “Pangitaan gyud namo og pamaagi nga magamit ang mga makinarya ug ekipo nga gitugyan kanamo gikan sa pangagamhanan. Wala namo damha nga ma-angkon namo ni ug mapasalamaton kami sa inyoa [partner agencies] nga nagpaluyo sa mga small farmers.”

On top of the provision of agri-machinery and equipment from DA-PhilMech, the provincial government also handed over knapsack sprayers and fertilizers assistance to the two FCA-recipients. # (JLO)