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Ecija farmers’ coops get P107.7M worth of equipment from RCEF

January 31, 2023 Cory Martinez 165 views

AT least P107.747-million worth of agricultural equipment was awarded to 59 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in Nueva Ecija as part of the government’s effort to help the farmers improve their production.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said that the awarding of the farm machinery is part of the mechanization component of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Panganiban and Executive Director Dionisio Alvindia of DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech), together with representatives from the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar and local government officials, led the awarding ceremony held last week.

The machines that were distributed were needed for crop establishment, harvesting, and palay drying.

These are composed of 15 hand tractors, 27 walk-behind transplanters, two riding-type transplanters, two precision seeders, three rice reapers, 25 rice combine harvesters, and 14 recirculating dryers.

Meanwhile, Alvindia said that the DA-PHilMech will sustain the distribution of farm equipment to qualified FCAs through the RCEF Mechanization Program until 2024 and provide the necessary training and capacity building for the farmer-beneficiaries.

“We have two more years to go for the RCEF-Mechanization Program, and I am optimistic that PHilMech will be able to sustain the delivery of the farm equipment and capacity-building measures to the qualified beneficiaries,” he said.

Alvindia added that they are encouraging the beneficiaries to allocate a portion of their income for the repair and maintenance of the awarded machinery.

The DA-PHilMech is also facilitating localizing the manufacturing of the spare parts for replacement and empowering local manufacturers to assist the farmers with the maintenance.

Since the RCEF started in 2019, the DA-PHilMech has already delivered 744 units of various agricultural machinery and postharvest facilities worth P952.5 million, benefiting 468 FCAs and local government units (LGU) in the Province of Nueva Ecija.

For the 2023 fund, the identification and field validation of potential beneficiaries already started in the last quarter of 2022.

The RCEF, which was created through the Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, aims to improve rice farmers’ competitiveness and income amid the liberalization of the Philippine rice trade policy.

For six years, P5 billion or 50% of the Rice Fund has been allocated to the RCEF-Mechanization Program to be implemented by DA-PHilMech and released as a grant to qualified FCAs, registered rice cooperatives, and LGUs.