LAOAG CITY – A PHP130 million modern post-harvest facility targeted to speed up the drying of palay in the province of Ilocos Norte was inaugurated on Friday in Barangay Saludares, Dingras, Ilocos Norte.
Funded by the National Food Authority (NFA), the facility will soon be equipped with at least four units of 30-metric tons capacity batch recirculating mechanical dryers.
In his speech during the inauguration of the project’s phase 1, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc thanked the Department of Agriculture and the NFA for choosing Ilocos Norte as the pilot site in agriculture modernization in the country, boosting farmers’ income amid the challenges that confront the agriculture sector.
“Rest assured that I am one with you and you have my hundred percent support for the development of agriculture,” he said.
The project, which is under DA’s post-harvest facility modernization program and Masagana Agri-Food Infrastructure program, is expected to boost the palay drying capacity of NFA-Ilocos Norte, enabling the agency to purchase more wet palay deliveries from local farmers, thus, ensuring adequate buffer stocks.
Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel said implementation of the agriculture modernization program is part of the government’s bid to support the farmers’ welfare.
“Through the Dingras post-harvest project, we can boost our palay production to ensure that there is stable and sufficient supply of rice here in Dingras and in the whole of Region 1,” he said.
Coinciding with the event, DA also distributed agriculture machinery and equipment to farmers’ and fishers' associations during an event at the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Center in Laoag City.
The equipment included 17 units of harvesters, eight hand tractors, seven fishing boats, 30 hand tractors with trailers, 13 walk-behind transplanters, four riding-type transplanters, three four-wheel tractors, and three precision seeders. (PNA)