• By The Financial District


The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now distributing P2 billion worth of farm implements to 625 farmers cooperatives and associations (FCAs) nationwide as part of the government’s program to ensure food sufficiency especially with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another P3 billion worth of farm machinery and equipment is going through a bidding process set to be distributed to the second batch of 1,068 FCAs that have been accredited to receive the farm implements as part of Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s food sufficiency thrust.

The P5 billion purchase of farm implements that would total 2,938 in the first batch and 4,996 units in the second batch is part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), a P10 billion program to be sourced from the customs duties and taxes levied on imported rice.

DA’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is the lead agency in procuring the farm machineries. The bidding for the second batch for a P3-billion purchase is expected to be completed by July 31, 2020.

“With the sustained and vigorous implementation of the RCEF program, coupled with our Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), we expect Filipino rice farmers to be at par with their counterparts in the ASEAN, in terms of cost efficiency and productivity, in the next three years,” the DA chief said.

Currently, Filipino farmers spend an average of P10 on labor, seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs to produce one kilogram (kg) of palay (paddy rice), while the country’s average harvest is at four metric tons (MT) per hectare (ha).