HARVESTING MADE EASY. The PHP1.9 million rice-harvesting machine from the Department of Agrarian Reform was turned over to the Bagumba Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization in Midsayap, North Cotabato on Thursday (April 27, 2023).  Members of the recipient group pose with the accompanying trailer of the farm machine. (Photo courtesy of DAR-North Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – A group of rice farmers in North Cotabato province is expected to boost its income after receiving a rice-harvesting machine worth PHP1.9 million from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), officials said Friday.

The initiative forms part of DAR’s Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Program aimed at reducing the harvesting costs of farmers to increase their income.  

Evangeline Bueno, provincial agrarian reform program officer, said the Bagumba Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization (BARBO) in Midsayap, North Cotabato, received on Thursday the 88 horsepower rice combine harvester with a trailer funded under the Agrarian Reform Fund.
"Rice farmers in the area will no longer worry about harvest losses due to the delays in harvesting their crop because of mechanization,” Bueno said in a statement Friday.
“This will also make them more resilient and adaptive to the effects of climate change as far as rice farming is concerned."

She added that the provision of the farm equipment would address the labor shortage during harvest season, generate more income for the recipient organization, and generate more savings from harvesting costs for the members.

In the past, BARBO president Livelyn Guillermo said they would spend PHP8,000 per hectare on labor in manual harvesting, while 10 percent of the total number of sacks are deducted from renting rice harvester machines to private owners in the area.

"This rice harvester is a big blessing to us because this answers the recurring problem of scarcity of labor or the limited number of available mechanized rice harvesters during harvest time," she said.

At least 161 members farming on a total of 380 hectares of rice land will directly benefit from the machine in Guillermo's village, and more than 1,000 hectares more in the adjacent barangays.

Midsayap Mayor Rolando Sacdalan attended the turnover program and expressed his support for mechanizing the agriculture sector. (PNA)