SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – Despite the heavy downpour brought by typhoon Paolo on October 19, DA Bicol regional executive director Elena B. delos Santos distributed a total of P47,438, 518 worth of agri-machineries to farmers, farmers’ organizations and local government units from the six provinces of the Bicol region. The mass distribution of farm machineries and postharvest equipment was held at the DA Bicol grounds.

Director delos Santos who has just arrived that day from a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol in Manila, said that the major marching order of Secretary Piñol and the Duterte administration is to focus on food security. “Makakamtan po natin ang kasapatan sa pagkain sa tulong ninyong mga magsasaka na hindi tumitigil sa pagbubungkal ng lupa. Sa pamamagitan po ng mga makinarya at kagamitan na ipamimigay ng DA sainyo, ay magiging magaan at maginhawa ang pagtatatrabaho nyo sa bukid at mapapataas pa ang inyong ani,” said Director delos Santos as she addressed the more than 100 farmer leaders, members of rural based organizations and extension workers present during the mass distribution.

 

She also explained the big difference in the guidelines governing the distribution of machineries to farmers. In the past years, there was 15% to 20% equity from the farmer-recipients which was lowered to 10% in 2016. But despite this, many farmers’ group could not provide the equity. This resulted to the accumulation of many equipment in the regional offices. Before these equipment totally deteriorate and become unserviceable, Sec. Piñol ordered the regional offices to distribute them without the monetary counterpart from the recipients. This year however, Secretary Piñol completely removed the farmers’ equity. Thus, she urged the farmers to give prime importance to care and maintenance and implement measures so that all members may enjoy the services of the equipment and machineries. She adds however, that the no equity scheme may only be temporary as it is not sustainable for the government to continuously provide these machineries as dole out.

The Rice Program distributed a total of P31,272,800 worth of machineries consisted of 8 units combine harvester worth P1,849,500; 15 units 4WD mini tractor; 19 units hand tractor; and 21 units thresher. The mobile corn dryer was awarded to the United Corn Growers of Pili, Inc. represented by its president Arturo Bismonte.

The High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) distributed a total of P2,946,718.00 consisting of 59 units knapsack sprayer; 7 units power tiller worth P220,000; 6 units power sprayer; 4 units pole pruner; 11 units water pump; 1 unit peanut grinder; 3 units peanut sheller; 10 units wheel barrow; and 50 sets of garden tools.

The Corn Program distributed a total of P13,219,000 worth of machineries consisting of Mobile Corn Dryer worth P3.5M, 3 units mini corn mill, 5 units corn mill, 3 units corn sheller, 1 PISOS, 1 unit cassava digger, 1 unit cassava chipper and 1 unit cassava granulator.

One recipient was Robinson Riveral, cluster manager of the Tuburan United Farmers Association in Cawayan, Masbate and president of the Corn Cassava Producers Association. He travelled all the way from Masbate despite the bad weather to attend the distribution. They have 120 farmer members who will benefit from the one unit 4-wheel drive tractor worth P2.4 million and cassava chipper worth P150,000 they received from the Corn Program on that day. Last year, the DA also established a mechanical dryer in their barangay. He said that they are very happy with the immediate action from the DA. “Napakaganda pa ngayon dahil wala ng monetary counterpart except shed,” Riveral added.

Meanwhile, DA Bicol Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Edgar R. Madrid said that the DA is now conducting mass distribution of farm equipment and machineries at the DA regional office rather than doing it in the provinces and municipalities as it saves time, effort and resources. (Lovella P. Guarin / photos by Raymond Adversario)