STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan — Some 100 farmer organizations from Pangasinan benefited from the farm mechanization program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) this year, an official of the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office said Friday.
Nestor Batalla, assistant provincial agriculturist, hailed the farm mechanization program of the DA which, he said, is pro-poor and much different from the program implemented by the past administrations.
Batalla, in an interview Friday, said that recipient farmer associations under the DA’s farm mechanization program are no longer required to put up their equity unlike before.
Farmers of recipient organizations were happy that the machineries were given as 100 percent grants to them.
During the past administration, Batalla recalled, the farmers’ groups were required to put up a 50 percent equity, which was later reduced to 25 percent.
The farm machineries include combined harvester and thresher, four-wheel tractors, hand tractors and power pumps.
Oftociano Manalo, president of the Pangasinan Irrigators’ Associations, said that with the use of farm machinery from DA, each farmer will be able to save at least 43 percent in production cost.
He explained that this 43 percent is normally spent by farmers for paying workers hired for planting, plowing, reaping and gathering grains and threshing.
Batalla said the only obligation to the DA of the farmers is for them to use hybrid and certified rice seeds in their farms so they can produce more and help ensure rice sufficiency for the country.
The associations were asked to prepare a schedule for their members who will alternate for use of the machinery and to maintain the same, Batalla said.
Non-members are also being encouraged to join associations so that they, too, can use the machineries.
Batalla said Pangasinan expects a bumper rice harvest as the province was spared by destructive typhoons that could have destroyed crops.
Rice harvesting for the first crop season this year will end by the first week of November, he noted.