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We will modernize farming – Sec. Kiko

To increase yield and improve production of rice in the province of Ilocos Norte, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. distributed modern farm equipment and machineries amounting to P73.3 million (M) on December 1, 2023.

The interventions, under the 2023 allocation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program, will benefit 52 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs), as well as local government units.

A total of 78 units of various farm machineries were distributed to beneficiaries including two 4-wheel tractors and 30 hand tractors. Twelve units of rice combine harvester were also turned over as well as walk-behind and riding transplanters, seeders, recirculating dryers, and rice mills.

In addition, coconut FCAs in the province received shared processing facilities to enable them to produce virgin cocout oil and coconut flour. The processing facilities amount to P26.8M.

“Ramdam ko ang sigla at galak ng ating mga magsasaka sa araw na ito sapagkat dala ng Kagawaran ng Pagsasaka at ng DA-PHilMech ang mga biyaya mula sa RCEF Mechanization Program at Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Program (CFIDP)–Shared Processing Facilities,” Laurel said.

He added that since the installation of RCEF, the province has received P532.5M-worth of machineries from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).

“Binabati ko ang PHilMech sa tuloy-tuloy nilang pagpapamahagi ng mga makinarya at pasilidad sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. Ito ay pagpapatunay ng tapat na paglilingkod sa ating mga magsasaka—ang ating mga kabalikat upang masiguro a ng pagkain ng bawat Pilipino sa mas makabagong mga pamamaraan,” he said.

The Secretary stressed that under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., DA is set to transform the Philippine agriculture sector into a modern industry.

“Gagawin po nating moderno ang inyong pagsasaka mula produksyon hanggang sa pagpo-proseso nito,” he said.

Laurel added that he is ready to listen to the voice of the farmers and fishers to harmonize efforts towards a food-secure nation.

“Patuloy kaming makikinig sa inyong mga tinig upang