At least Php24 million worth of farm machinery were distributed to accredited Farmer Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) in South Cotabato through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF- Mechanization Component) of Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).
During the formal machinery distribution held earlier at the Provincial Demonstration Farm, at least 133 various farm machinery were distributed to the qualified FCAs of the province ten towns, and lone city.
These farm machineries are composed of Four Wheel Tractors and Floating Tillers for the Land preparation; Precision Seeder, Walk-Behind Transplanters, and Riding-type Transplanters for crop establishments; Rice Reaper and Combine harvester for harvesting units, Axial flow and thresher for Threshing Units; and Mobile Rice mill for Milling Units, among others.
These machinery distributed were procured under 2019, 2020, and 2021 funds. The Philmech assures that these units are new and free for the farmers’ groups.
The Rice Machinery distribution program aims to increase the harvest and income of the farmers by using the appropriate farm mechanization technologies and equipment from planting to milling.
In order to avail of the program, the FCAs should provide the following documents: Letter of Intent, Certificate of Accreditation from the DA-Field Office, and FCA profiles which include the list of its members and the machinery they want to avail.
The Philmec also requires that each beneficiary group should have at least 50 hectares of rice fields, be willing to maintain the machinery, and must provide machinery shed for protection.
Aling Zenaida, one of the local coop members said, “Daku ang mabulig sini sa amon nga mangunguma, ilabe na nga kulang kami sa pinansyal. Nalipay gid kami”.
Aside from the machinery, Philmech also provides training courses on Post Harvest and Mechanization. These include 1.) Operations and maintenance of rice machinery 2. ) Post-harvest technologies -drying and milling and, 3.) Specialized training courses by technology.
This training ensures that the agricultural machinery provided will operate at its maximum efficiency.