Mechanization program gets positive feedback

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) received positive feedback from recipients of the farm machines distributed at no cost under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program.

PHilMech Executive Director Baldwin Jallorina said the positive feedback from farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) that were beneficiaries of the program demonstrated that farm mechanization was gaining acceptance in the agriculture sector. More importantly, there are more FCAs saying they are thankful for the passage of Republic Act 11203, or the “Rice Tariffication Law (RTL),” as it created the program.

“The positive feedback PHilMech is getting from FCAs [that] have received their farm-machine grants under the RCEF Mechanization Program demonstrates that there are more and more rice farmers who are realizing the benefits of using machines to increase their efficiency and profitability,” he said.

“More and more FCAs are also attending the online training programs of PHilMech for [the program], demonstrating that interest toward farm mechanization and the program itself is increasing nationwide,” Jallorina added.

From San Luis town in Aurora province, Alfredo Evanghelista of the Hiwalayan Farmers Association said the machines would help them plant rice ahead of schedule.

“The machines given to us are very important, because this could facilitate the harvesting of our palay (unmilled rice) and the plowing of the soil ahead of schedule, so we can take advantage of the good weather to make our crops more healthy,” Evanghelista said in Filipino.

For Gregorio Ramos Jr. of the Naguilian Irrigators Service Association Inc.  in Naguilian town, La Union province, the machines would help lower production costs.

“We are very thankful for this huge assistance to uplift our lives as farmers, and to facilitate work in the fields and lower the cost of farming,” Ramos said in Filipino.

Jessie Abocado from the Veneracion Farmers and Urban Poor Association Inc. in Pamplona town, Camarines Sur province, said the combine harvester the group received would help it cope with storms, as the machine could hasten the harvesting of palay with minimal loss.

“We usually face difficulties in harvesting in the Bicol region because of frequent storms.

Because of the rice combine harvester, our cost for harvesting palay is reduced. We now have less fear of our harvests getting destroyed by storms,” Abocado said in Filipino.

For Benito T. Noora of the Patson Del Pila Farmers Small Water Irrigation System Association Inc. in Camarines Sur’s San Fernando town, the machines would help reduce costs.

“Our farming will be made easier, and cost will be reduced with the machines given to us,” Noora said in Filipino.

Alex Allejos of the Apo-Apo Farmers Association in Cabangan town, Zambales province, said the machines was a “dream” come true.

“It has been our dream to have our own farm machines that we can use to improve our farming operations and improve our livelihood,” Allejos said in Filipino.

And Eranio Mojica of the 1st Damayan Bagsit Irrigators Association Inc. in Zambales’ Palauig town said the RCEF Mechanization Program showed that the RTL was also crafted to help the country’s rice farmers.

“The RCEF program that is a product of the Rice Tariffication Law is a big help to use farmers,” Mojica said in Filipino.

The types of machines distributed by PHilMech to qualified FCAs include four-wheel tractors, combine harvesters, reapers, seeders, hand tractors, transplanters, floating tillers, rice mills and threshers.