Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala commended the Western Visayas region for attaining 119% rice self-sufficiency and being the third highest rice-producing region in the country.
In his message during the Farmers’, Fisherfolk’s and Agricultural Extension Workers’ (AEWs) Forum in Jaro, Iloilo City, on March 2, 2016, Alcala thanked Iloilo farmers who took part and participated in government projects which led to the record-high harvest for the past cropping seasons.
The agri chief stressed that aside from the hard work of the farm laborers, this would not be possible if not for the implementation of the rice mechanization program.
“Kaya nga po ipinapakiusap ko sa inyong lahat na patuloy na suportahan ang mechanization project ng pamahalaan dahil maganda ang resulta nito,” he said.
“We need to catch-up on mechanization so that we will be at par with other Asian countries and with the integration of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC),” he said.
“But locally, we must also improve on our systems and farm technology to lower costs of production and attain higher return of investments,” he said.
Alcala added that about twenty percent of the regional budget is allocated to the farm modernization agenda of the government.
Studies conducted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) show that farm mechanization can help increase harvest and reduce average production cost of palay from P11/kilo to P9/kilo.
Alcala added, “In 2010, the average age of a Filipino farmer is 57 years old, but a survey conducted by the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) recently showed it is now down to 54.”
“Ibig sabihin, bumabata ang mga magsasaka at marami nang nae-engganyo na magbukid, dahil mas madali na ito ngayon,” he said.
During the event, Alcala along with other officials from the DA Regional Office in Region VI turned over more than Php38 million worth of farm machineries and implements to farmer associations, Php9,720,860.00 worth of fishery projects, fiberglass boats and fishing equipment to the LGUs and fisherfolk associations. # Source - (RFO6 with MJExamen)/www.da.gov.ph