Each of the 947 rice-producing towns in the country will get P5 million worth of farm equipment and machinery under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund said Senator Cynthia Villar.
Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said P5 billion has been allocated for the procurement of farm equipment through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech). This will be divided among the rice-producing municipalities.
The machinery, Villar said, will be used for land preparation, crop establishment, harvesting and threshing, drying, and milling. In the absence of farmer associations, the local government unit will manage and maintain the equipment.
“Mechanization of farm labor is our solution in reducing the cost of producing palay in the country, which is pegged at P12 per kilo compared to Vietnam, which produces a kilo of palay at P6 only,” Villar said.
Villar said experts have analyzed the cost difference between two countries and found out the biggest difference of P3.40 as labor cost.
“We hope to bring down labor cost through mechanization. Under RCEF, our rice farmers will receive as grant-in-aid P5 million worth of farm equipment annually for the next six years,” said Villar.
“And they will be trained how to operate and how to maintain them,” she added.
The Nacionalista Party senator said the law also allocated P100 million to PhilMech to be used to train the trainors on farm mechanization and farm machinery servicing and maintenance.
Republic Act 11203 under the program designed to protect farmers and improve their competitiveness, mandates the distribution of farm equipment such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, and irrigation pumps to eligible rice farmer associations and registered rice cooperatives.