Mechanization , loan program
could reduce rice production cost
in PH – Sec Alcala
BY: DANILO E. DOGUILES
Friday 4th of April 2014
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KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Apr. 4 (PIA) -- Appropriate mechanization
and postharvest facilities coupled with a non-
restrictive loan program could help decrease the cost of production among rice farmers in
“Filipino rice farmers are not yet ready for the ASEAN Integration
in 2015 because our production cost for palay is too high compared to those spent by
farmers in other countries like Vietnam and Thailand spend,” Agriculture
Secretary Proceso Alcala told members of media from SOCCSKSARGEN in a meeting at
his office in Quezon City recently.
Citing initial reports from a study that the Department of Agriculture commissioned
through Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI), the secretary said, the massive expenses by Filipino farmers were
largely influenced by the highly manual operations from land preparation to harvesting
as well as the “cost of money being used by the farmers.”
The cost of money, he elaborated, pertains to the excessive profits that traders add to the cost
of farm inputs as well as the disproportionate interests that loan sources charge.
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) reported that while rice growers in the
Philippines spend P10 to produce a kilogram of palay, their counterparts in Vietnam
and Thailand only shell out P5 and P8, respectively to yield the same volume.
“With right interventions on farm mechanization and postharvest
facilities, we could lessen the production and labor cost,” said Secretary Alcala, adding that
the concern on exorbitant charges and interests on farm supplies and loans are being
addressed partly by the Sikat Saka program.
“If we could lower the cost of production to P5 per kilo, Filipino farmers can really be
competitive,” he said.
In a separate interview, DA 12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-
Datukan explained further that with proper mechanization, farm activities such as
planting and harvesting are shortened; the number of persons who should be hired to do farm
works is also lessened.
“For example, a rice combine harvester could easily harvest two hectares of rice
production area in less than one day, which when done by manual labor could last up
to four days,” Datukan said. “It is also not true that using a rice harvester could result in
considerable wastage, in fact, manual labor results in more losses.”
Losses are further lessened when postharvest facilities such as warehouses, multi-
purpose drying pavements, mechanical dryers and the like are made accessible to the rice
growers, she said.
Sikat Saka is a credit assistance program being implemented by DA and the Land Bank of
the Philippines and the other attached agencies of the Department in support to the Food Staples
It intends help small palay growers, particularly members of irrigators’
associations attain better yield with a loan program with attached support such
as technical assistance, administrative services, assured market, insurance, and irrigation.
Loan beneficiaries are also trained on credit and financial management.
Rice farmers are allowed loan of P41,000 per hectare if they raise inbred rice
and P50,000 per hectare if they grow hybrid rice.
In SOCCSKSARGEN Region, Sikat Saka was piloted in North Cotabato in 2012. Last year,
the financial aid was opened to rice growers in Sultan Kudarat and
South Cotabato provinces. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12)
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=1611396588727#sthash.dlNXebUF.dpuf