THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao region targets to increase rice production for 2017 by enhancing rice mechanization.

During a weekly press conference at Abreeza Mall, DA-Davao Regional Director Ricardo Oñate, Jr. said that one of the ways to increase rice yield in the region is through the enhancement of mechanization in rice production.

The nationwide average yield is at 3.9 metric tons per hectare, which Davao Region had surpassed with its 4.6 metric tons per hectare average rice yield. However, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol wanted to increase nationwide average yield to six metric tons per hectare which makes the need for rice production in Davao region to still be increased despite the current sufficiency.

Oñate also said that with today’s generation, less and less young people are going into farming. He thinks that with proper education and campaign for mechanization, particularly of rice production, the youth will recognize that technology made it less difficult. He is hoping that mechanization will encourage more young people to go back to farming.

As for other farmers who are hesitant to use modern technology, Oñate said that trainings and seminars had been conducted to introduce the benefits of the equipment to them. He also added that by 2017, a thorough campaign drive will also be conducted.

Combined harvester is a machine that aids with the harvesting of grain crops. Compostela Valley had already started using this technology.

According to Oñate, Combined Harvester is a great help for rice farmers as it does not only aid with the harvesting but also with threshing. It serves two operations in a single machine. It lessens the time consumed in processing.

Oñate added that not only is the region equipped with harvesting facility. The Rice Processing Complex (RPC) is a post-harvest machine that aids with rice milling. RPC provides better production with 65 percent rate of recovery for the rice produce in comparison with the 50 percent rate by small rice millers. The machine also provides efficient rice production, milling, and even drying and storage. An RPC in the region is located at Matanao, Davao del Sur.

Increased rice yield will not be a problem of overstock as President Rodrigo Roa-Duterte already expressed plan to provide 20 kilos of rice per month to Filipinos under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.