(Photo courtesy DA RFO 2)

By Dr. Ferdinand Cortez

The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 2 (DA RFO 2) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Devt and Mechanization (PhilMech) distributed P199.5 million worth of agri machineries to 112 Farmer Cooperatives and Association (FCAs) in Cagayan Province on November 4, 2021.

“The RCEF is a result of the Rice Tarrification Law enforced in 2019. The machineries will lessen production cost of farmers in land preparation and posthavest activities,” DA RFO 2 Executive Director Edillo said.

The bulk of distribution increased as this was accompanied by machineries purchased under 2019 and 2020 RCEF excess funds.

“Our hopes may have dimmed when the RTL was enforced, but here now is what it could do to uplift the lives of farmers in the countryside,” Dr. Baldwin Jallorina, PhilMech director said.

Meanwhile, Agri Chief Dr. William D. Dolente and Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairman, committee on agriculture through video messages explained the significance of the RTL.

RA 11203, otherwise known as the Rice Tariffication Law, in February 2019. After more than four decades of battles to reform the rice sector, the RTL ended NFA’s monopoly, removed quantitative restrictions on rice imports, and replaced them with a 35 percent import tariff.

RCEF mechanization program ensures that farming tools are environmentally sound, economically affordable, adaptable to local conditions, and beneficial for farmers.

Aside from four wheel drive tractors, combine harvesters, seeders, walk behind trans planters and floating tillers, multi stage rice mills, de stoners and recirculating dryers were also distributed.

A number of farmers accompanied by their respective municipal agriculturists and LGU officers flocked to Southern Cagayan Research Center (SCRC) to receive the machineries.