More than 50 farmers covering at least 100 hectares of rice fields in the three barangays in Koronadal City availed themselves of the “Provincial Free Tractor Services ” implemented by the provincial government of South Cotabato through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
Based on the records from the OPAG, For the Ratovator alone, the program covers at least 50 hectares from Barangay Avancena, 40 hectares in Brgy. Namnama and 20 hectares from Brgry. Concepcion, all in Koronadal City.
For the Tractor services, the program is ongoing at the barangays of Carpenter Hill and Saravia.
Gil Perez, 51, a farmer for more than three decades now said, “This is the first time that I have availed of this services”.
Perez said he can already save at least Php5,400 for this cropping season out of the free tractor services program of the province which he can use for other expenses like seedlings and farm inputs instead.
To date, more than 400 marginalized farmers already availed of the program after it was launched by the Provincial Government of South Cotabato last year.
Out of the three initial farm machinery availed by the OPAG last year, at least five farm machinery composed of two Ratovators and three Tractors is servicing the entire province with the aim to lessen the expenses of the farmers in their farm operations.
Provincial Agriculturist Raul Teves said the initiative is in support of the Farm mechanization program of the Department of Agriculture which could provide technological change to attain food security and self-sufficiency through modern farm technologies.
Based on their guidelines, those who can avail of the program are marginalized farmers from South Cotabato who own or maintain an area with less than two (2) hectares and below land area, applicable for harrowing and deep plowing activities at single passing only.
Teves said that those who want to avail themselves of free services, can visit the OPAG Office and fill out the requisition slip a week before their scheduled date.
He added, that the OPAG has proposed Php10 million under the devolution transition plan which will be used to procure more farm machinery and other necessary equipment for the farmers.