Farmers and stakeholders have been slowly reaping the benefits under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Recently, the Department of Agriculture- Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) turned over some PHP159.5 million worth of farm machinery to members of farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in Agusan del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay.
On Tuesday, a total of PHP81.4 million worth of machinery grants were distributed to 25 qualified FCAs in the province of Agusan Del Norte during the machinery turnover held in Butuan City.
The DA said some 2,750 farmer-members will benefit from the distributed machines which were procured under this year’s RCEF.
Around 5,460 farmer members who belong to 35 qualified FCAs in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay also received PHP78.1 worth of machinery grants under the RCEF Mechanization Program in early November.
A total of 50 units of agri-machinery were distributed including Four-Wheel Tractor, Hand Tractor, Floating Tiller, PTO-Driven Disc Plow/Harrow, Walk-behind Rice Transplanter, Riding Type Rice Transplanter, Rice Combine Harvester, Rice Threshers, Recirculating Dryer, Single Pass Rice Mill, Multi-Stage Rice Mill, and Impeller Rice Mill.
The distribution covers the 12 rice-producing municipalities of the province which includes Diplahan, Buug, Ipil, Siay, Roseller T. Lim, Tungawan, Alicia, Payao, Imelda, Malangas,Kabasalan, and Titay.
According to DA-PhilMech, around 1,200 to 1,600 farm machinery will be distributed to FCAs every year.
The FCAs with good performance can be selected again for the distribution of their lacking farm machinery. The allocation of machinery is based on the urgency and needs of the FCAs.
The DA also prioritizes provinces and municipalities that are considered rice-producing based on the Philippine Rice Industry Road Map. They are also considering FCAs that are lacking with farm machinery.
The goal of the RCEF Mechanization Program is to reduce the cost of rice production from PHP2 – PHP3 per kilogram through the use of accurate, effective, and complete set of machinery to reduce postharvest losses by 3-5 percent through the use of appropriate and efficient postharvest machinery.
The program is part of the annual PHP10-billion RCEF created under the Rice Tariffication Law to enhance the competitiveness of Filipino rice farmers in a liberalized rice industry. The other three RCEF components, with their corresponding budget for six years that started in 2019, include seeds distribution (PHP3 billion), credit (PHP1 billion), and extension and training (PHP1 billion). (PNA)