CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Farmers in the province of Nueva Ecija received yet another batch of equipment and machineries through Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program.
The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) has distributed some PHP107.74 million worth of farm machineries to 59 Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) in the province.
DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and DA-PHilMech Executive Director Dionisio Alvindia, together with representatives from the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar and local government officials, led the turnover ceremony on Thursday held at PhilMech Main Office, Science City of Munoz in Nueva Ecija.
This is part of agriculture's transition to mechanization which is one of the four components of RCEF under Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
The program aims to elevate the farmers’ productivity, profitability and competitiveness through mechanized production and post-production systems.
Mechanization gets 50 percent of RCEF allocation which is equivalent to PHP5 billion annually.
The distributed types of machinery include 15 units of hand tractors, 27 units of walk-behind rice transplanters, two units of riding-type rice transplanters, two units of precision rice seeders, three units of rice reapers, 25 units of rice combine harvesters, and 14 units of six-ton recirculating dryers.
Alvindia said the implementation of the RCEF aimed at reducing production costs and at the same time, increasing the yields of the rice farmers.
Through the implementation of RCEF since 2019, he said there are more than 21,000 units of machinery that have already been distributed nationwide that gave benefits to some 1.3 million rice farmers.
Meanwhile, Dante Lazatin of Nacatamaaco Irrigators’ Association, Inc. in Guimba, Nueva Ecija thanked the government for the program and reminded his fellow farmer-leaders that they also have the responsibility in making the program successful.
“Salamat po sa RCEF. Pag-ibinigay ang mga post-harvest facilities natin, magiging competitive tayo.Ipatupad lang po nating mga lider ng magsasaka nang tama. Just imagine, gigiling ka, may sorter, may separator, so makakapagbenta na po tayo (Thank you to the RCEF. Once our post-harvest facilities have been given, we will become competitive. Let us, as farmers’ leaders, implement it rightfully. Just imagine, we have miller, sorter, separator, so we can now sell),” Lazatin said.
Nueva Ecija Third District Representative Rosanna Vergara, for her part, said that she will file a measure that seeks to extend the RCEF for another six years in a bid to continuously empower the rice farmers.
“Maghahain ako ng batas para i-extend pa ang RCEF kahit another six years o kung pwede ay sampung taon. Para yung PHP10 billion na kinukuha galling sa taripa ng imported na bigas ay patuloy na matulungan ang mga rice farmers para mas lumakas ang ating rice industry (I will file a bill that seeks to extend the RCEF for another six years or if possible for 10 years so that the PHP10 billion tariffs from imported rice will continuously help the rice farmers towards the further growth of the rice industry)," she said.
In 2021, some PHP317.7 million worth of farm machineries were distributed to 150 FCAs in Nueva Ecija under RCEF program.
RCEF is a six-year PHP10-billion rice production development program created under the RTL law which deregulated the rice industry.
The law mandates that PHP5 billion would be allocated for farm mechanization, PHP3 billion for inbred seed distribution, PHP1 billion for credit and PHP1 billion for the extension. (PNA)