GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Low-income farmers in South Cotabato province may now avail of tractor services for free through an innovative farm support program of the provincial government.
Dr. Raul Teves, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, said Friday they have started the rollout of the “Provincial Free Tractor Services” program to help improve the productivity of small farmers in the province.
He said they formally launched the initiative on Thursday in a simple ceremony held in Barangay Cinco, Banga town.
The official said they initially deployed at least three tractors to provide free services to the qualified farmers.
The tractors cost PHP3.5 million each, with two units provided last year by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Region 12 under its enhanced farm mechanization program, he said.
The provincial government has established a motor pool for the farm machinery donated by DA at its demonstration farm in Banga town.
Based on the program guidelines, Teves said the free tractor services may be availed by marginalized farmers who or maintain a land area of two hectares and below.
“The farmland should be suitable for harrowing and deep plowing at single passing only,” he told reporters.
Farmers who want to avail of the program may visit the OPAG office in Koronadal City and fill out the requisition slip at least a week before the scheduled date, he said.
Teves said the initiative is aimed to promote the use of modern technologies and machinery among farmers to help increase their income as well as enhance local food production.
He said it is also in support of DA’s farm mechanization program, which focuses on attaining food security and self-sufficiency through modern farm technologies. (PNA)