BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO
MAGUINDANAO (March 30, 2023)—Forty-five farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in Maguindanao recently received P115.12 million worth of farm machines at no cost under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Mechanization Program.
According to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) headed by Director Dionisio Alvindia, a total of 5,986 farmers from the 45 FCAs in Maguindanao will directly benefit from the machines given to them under the RCEF-Mechanization Program. PHilMech is an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The machines were distributed at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Integrated Agriculture Research Center, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte on March 14, 2023.
PHilMech said the machines distributed to FCAs in Maguindanao include hand tractors, floating tillers, walk-behind transplanters, rice combine harvesters, mobile rice mills, recirculating dryers, multi-stage rice mills, precision seeders and riding-type transplanters.
The FCA beneficiaries were from Barira, Buldon, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Ampatuan, Buluan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Hoffer, Datu Paglas, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Guindulungan, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Mangudadatu, Mamasapano, Pagalungan, Paglat, Pandag, Radja Buayan, Shariff Aguak (Magonoy), South Upi, Talayan and Talitay all in Maguindanao.
Gracing the turn-over ceremony were Zamzamin Ampatuan, DA undersecretary for Special Concerns and BARMM; BARMM-Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform Maguindanao Provincial Director Ronjamin Maulana, and PHilMech Interim Director for Operations Joel Dator.
From the recipients, Niel Hortelano, the irrigators’ association president, expressed gratitude for the machines they received from PHilMech at no cost.
“This is a big deal for us because honestly, we are suffering because we are not getting our target date for harvesting our palay (unmilled rice) due to the lack of manpower,” he said.
“But with this mechanization program, we will be able to speed up the harvesting of our rice crops,” Hortelano added.