GAPAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Farmer-members of different cooperatives and associations in this province are now benefiting from using mechanized farming equipment and machinery.
With the farm-machine grants provided by the Department of the Agriculture (DA), through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHILMECH) and in collaboration with the provincial government of Nueva Ecija, farmers are now experiencing the convenience of mechanization during planting and harvest seasons.
Amparo Viesca, a member of the Kabungan Farmers’ Cooperative in San Antonio town, said in a local television program on Saturday, the three-day tillage of land with the use of a hand tractor can only be done for two hours through a four-wheel tractor.
Andres de Guzman, president of the Irrigators Association in San Isidro, also cited the big help of the mechanized farming machinery to their association’s 427 members.
“The machinery that we received such as combine harvester, wheel tractor, transplanter, seed spreader machines help lower our production costs,” de Guzman said.
Rudy Embuado of Savers Farmers Association Incorporated in Talugtug town said there is no need for them to wait for farmworkers to till and prepare their lands during planting season.
“With the use of the four-wheel tractor, our labor costs have been reduced,” Embuado said.
They were among the 139 farmers’ cooperatives and associations in the province that were given farm machinery grants, which comprise of 79 four-wheel-drive tractors, 30 rice combined harvesters, four riding-type mechanical rice transplanters, and three walk-behind mechanical rice transplanters in November last year.
PhilMech director Baldwin Jallorina earlier said the distribution was part of the second batch of the year 2019 and the first batch of the 2020 Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) budget.
DA Central Luzon director Crispulo Bautista, meanwhile, said the modernization of agriculture through mechanization is one of the eight paradigms of Secretary William Dar to level up agriculture in the country.
The DA’s mechanization program is one of the four components of RCEF with PHP5 billion or 50 percent of the total allocated yearly fund.
The program aims to increase farmers’ productivity, profitability, and competitiveness through mechanized production and post-production systems. (PNA)