The Department of Agriculture-RFO I under the Rice Banner Program turned over around Php19.4million worth of farm machineries and equipment to various farmers group and associations of Pangasinan in a ceremonial distribution at the Pangasinan Research and Experiment Center (PREC), Tebag, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan on June 15, 2016.

Forty-three farmers’ groups, associations and cooperatives were among the recipients of this farm mechanization project that aims to increase the rice production in Ilocos Region through an intensified use of modern farming facilities which will redound to an increase in farmers’ yield as well as income.

Funded under the 2017 Regular Budget of the Rice Banner Program, this year’s giving out of farm machineries is different from the previous distribution since all farm machineries distributed under the administration of Secretary Emmanuel Piñol were given as grant to the beneficiaries.

Seven units of combined harvester and 36 units hand tractors were distributed to the 43 farmers group/associations and cooperatives.

In a simple Program during the distribution activity, Dr. Gilbert Rabara, Chief of the DA-PREC underscored the importance of taking good care of these farm machineries. “Regalo po ito ng ating gobyerno, kaya’t huwag nating sayangin,” Dr. Rabara said.

Ms. Analiza Ramos, Regional Rice Focal Person seconded this advice of Dr. Rabara and reiterated the DA’s concern on those other farmers association who are complaining on the unfair identification of recipients of these farm interventions. Ms. Ramos explained that it is not only the DA who have identified the recipients since this is a concerted effort of the DA together with the Rice Action Team of the Province.

As the concurrent Regional Seed Coordinator of DA, Ms. Ramos also reminded the farmer-beneficiaries to get in touch with the Municipal Agricultures Office for them to be included in the pre-masterlist who could avail of the seeds ready for distribution this wet cropping season.

In the same event, Regional Agriculture & Fishery Council Chairman, Mr. Vincent Adorna explained in details some of the salient features of the Memorandum of Agreement between and among the DA and the Farmers Associations officials. According to Mr. Adorna, DA has the right to recover the project once these machineries are found not being fully utilized by the association members or not properly used. “Fair access and use by all the members shall be allowed to fully utilize the machines,” Mr. Adorna said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nestor Batalla, Provincial Rice Program Coordinator of Pangasinan on behalf of Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III expressed in his message his gratitude to the Department of Agriculture officials for the continuous provision of interventions to the farmers of Pangasinan. Based on DA’s record, Pangasinan has the largest allocation of farm machineries this year in among all the 18 Regions in the country.

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