THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental will start utilizing the Capitol-run Negros First Rice Processing Center (NFRPC) situated at Barangay Tabunan in Bago City for income generation purposes.
The Provincial Board passed an ordinance enacting the rates and charges of the rice processing center, specifically on milling and drying services it will provide to local rice farmers, associations and cooperatives.
Proponent Fourth District Board Member Victor Javellana, chairman of committee on agriculture, said the province set a custom milling rate of P1.70 per kilogram of newly-harvested rice.
The figure, equivalent to about P85 per 50-kilogram bag, is an upscale rate compared to P73 to P87 in private mills.
In terms of recovery rate, NFRPC has 68 percent, higher than only 63 percent of other rice mills in the province, Javellana said.
“For drying services, the province will collect P2,000 per batch per 10 hours and P300 for every hour thereafter or a fraction thereof ,” he said, adding that payment in kind like rice grain or bran is acceptable at a prevailing market price at the time services are rendered.
The ordinance also provided that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. or his duly authorized representatives can waive or reduce the imposition of rates and charges in time of natural calamities, pest infestations, and other similar events.
Marañon may also grant incentives to duly registered farmer cooperatives or associations which patronizes the services of the processing center at his discretion.
Javellana said the ordinance shall take effect upon the approval of the governor and after compliance with the publication required under the provisions of the 1991 Local Government Code.
The almost P64-million rice processing center was inaugurated in April 2015 in rites led by former president Benigno Aquino III.
The state-of-the-art rice processing facility is positioned to help farmers improve their productivity which will also help the province sustain its food sufficiency program.
The NFRPC has drying capacity of 150 bags per batch per 10 hours, and a milling capacity of 10 tons per hour. It has undergone more than two years of “test operations” before it has passed the standards especially in terms of ensuring the quality of milled rice.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman committee on appropriations, budget, finance, and ways and means, said the income to be generated from the processing center will fall under the Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD) fund.
Escalante said there is a need to impose rates and charges as NFRPC cannot operate for free due to maintenance expenses.
“This is another potential economic enterprise venture for the province while still helping local farmers improve productivity through lower drying and milling costs yet higher recovery rate,” he added.