Mechanize farming or be left out – The Manila Times

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TUGUEGARAO CITY: The Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 2 has encouraged farmers to invest in farm mechanization and to join cooperatives to lessen production costs and expand income sources.

According to Regional Director Narciso Edillo of DA-Region 2, the government is working to increase the profit of farmers through mechanization. However, it would give them more income stability if local farmers can join farmers’ cooperatives.

“The government-led NFA (National Food Authority) is there to stabilize the price, but [it] cannot buy all farmers’ produce. That is why we are encouraging farmers to join associations and cooperatives to have immediate assistance not just from the government, [but also from the private sector],” said Edillo.

He added the DA is working on farm consolidations by means of clustering via farmers’ cooperatives and associations to promote quality crop produce in all towns.

“The clustering allows the government agency to distribute seeds, fertilizers and other farm machineries in an assistance package for easy monitoring and faster delivery,” he added.

For the 10,000-hectare corn farms affected by drought, Edillo said validated farmers would get feed and fertilizer assistance in the next cropping season.

To help farmers adversely affected by the dry spell and the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the DA Region 2 has also distributed 45 heads of cattle to farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in the province.

Edillo said the allocation and distribution were made possible under the Expanded Livestock and Poultry Livelihood Program being implemented by the DA as an immediate assistance to farmers.

He said the cattle were distributed to two FCAs — 25 heads were given to Tuao West Cattle Raisers Association in Tuao town while 20 were given to Western Light Marketing Cooperative in Solana town.

Palay buying price

Edillo said palay (unmilled rice) buying in Cagayan Valley provinces have been pegged between P11 to P13 for fresh palay and P15 to P17 for dry palay, which is more than “enough than the previous buying price in the past seasons.”

“In our estimates, a farmer can earn P15,000 to P20,000 each hectare with the current buying price,” he said.

Noting the low-priced, palay-buying trend, trader-rice miller Leonardo Uy said they support and understand the situation of the farmers, but they are also selling some of their milled rice and corn to companies and big traders; aside from directly selling to consumers to more than breakeven prices these days.

Trader June Cabacungan said adding to their woes was the influx of imported rice. She said to earn some income, they would mill half of the bought palay and sell them directly to consumers while most of the corn produce is sold as feed to animals.

Drought has exacerbated the problems of farmers, especially to those engaged in corn farming. Corn farmer Reynaldo Pascua said his one-hectare farm has been beset by drought due to insufficient rains.

WITH LEANDER C. DOMINGO

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