PALAY WAREHOUSE. The ongoing construction of a palay warehouse with a mechanical dryer in Barangay Santor, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. The project will benefit the farmer-members of the Santor Bongabon Agricultural Cooperative (SBAC) as well as other farmers in the community. (Contributed photo)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – A farmers' cooperative in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija will soon have its own warehouse with a mechanical dryer that could help ensure that their products are of good quality and will command higher prices even in times of calamity.

With a total cost of PHP5 million, the warehouse is now being constructed in Barangay Santor to provide a secure and convenient storage facility for the post-harvest palay of the Santor Bongabon Agricultural Cooperative (SBAC).

The Department of Agriculture–Regional Field Office III (DA-RFO3) has granted the request of SBAC to help farmers dry and store their products until they are marketed to traders.

“One of the priority projects of the DA is to provide post-harvest facilities to help farmers reduce their post-harvest losses,” said Nueva Ecija provincial agriculturist Bernardo Valdez in a report on Wednesday.

He said the SBAC was chosen as a recipient of the project based on the assessment made by the DA of all the requirements submitted by the group.

Cooperative farmer-members thanked the DA-RFO3 for the project that would help them, especially during the wet season when the price of palay is relatively low.

“Napakalaking bagay na maitayo ang warehouse at dryer. Dahil sa panahon ng tag-ulan, yan ang pangunahing problema ng mga magsasaka dito. Napipilitan na ibenta ang mga palay kahit basa dahil walang pagbibilaran (The putting up of the warehouse and dryer is a big deal for us. A major problem for farmers during the rainy season is a place to dry and store our palay. We are forced to sell their palay even when wet because there is no way to dry up), SBAC farmer-member Jaime Guico said.

Meanwhile, SBAC chairperson Elly Federizo said the facility is not only meant for the sole use of their 95 cooperative members but also of other farmers in their community. (PNA)