RICE farmers in Cagayan province received a total of P199.5 million worth of machinery grant under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Mechanization Program during the turnover ceremony held on November 4 in Iguig, Cagayan.

A total of 131 units of machinery, which include a four-wheel tractor, hand tractor, floating tiller, PTO driven disc plow/harrow, precision rice seeder, walk-behind rice transplanter, riding type rice transplanter, rice combine harvester, recirculating dryer, mobile rice mill, multi-stage rice mill, and destoner, were distributed.

Around 17,427 members who belong to 112 qualified farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) are expected to benefit from the machinery grant.

Dr. Baldwin G. Jallorina, PHilMech director, graced the ceremony and encouraged the farmers to take good care of the machines. He promised them additional grants should they be good stewards.

“Sana magamit ninyo ng husto ang makinarya, pagyamanin at magamit ng mahabang panahon. At kung mataas ang utilization rate, ang challenge ko sa inyo, madadagdagan po natin yan ng postharvest facilities upang makumpleto ang mga makinarya,” Jallorina said.

“Sana ang mga ibibigay sa inyong mga makinarya ay mas lalong palakasin ang inyong samahan at hindi maging simula ng inyong hindi pagkakaunawaan,” he added.

Meanwhile, Narciso Edillo, Department of Agriculture (DA)-Cagayan executive director, challenged the farmers to also manage the machinery well for the next generation.

“Bagamat grant ito, hindi ibig sabihin ay basta basta na lang ang paggamit natin. Alagaan po natin ang mga ito upang pakinabangan pa ng mga anak at apo natin sa ating mga associations,” Edillo said.

These machines were funded under 2021 funds and the 2019 and 2020 excess funds from competitive biddings.

About 28 municipalities and one city will be covered under this batch of distributions. These areas include Alcala, Aparri, Baggao, Buguey, Gattaran, Gonzaga, Camalaniugan, Lal-Lo, Sta Ana, Sta Teresita, Abulug, Allacapan, Ballesteros, Lasam, Pamplona, Claveria, Piat, Sanchez Mira, Sto. Nino, Rizal, Sta Praxedes, Calayan, Solana, Tuao, Iguig, Amulung, Enrile, Peñablanca, and Tuguegarao City.

Lawyer Chris Beltran, representative of Representative Argel Joseph T. Cabatbat of the Magsasaka Partylist, lauded Jallorina for the accomplishments of the agency in the implementation of the RCEF Mechanization Program and coined the director as “a director with a heart for the farmers.”

Local government officials and provincial and municipal agriculturists also graced the ceremony. They all expressed their gratitude for the grants received under the program. (PR)