5 th april2014 rice news by riceplus magazine


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5 th april2014 rice news by riceplus magazine

  1. 1. Mechanization , loan program could reduce rice production cost in PH – Sec Alcala BY: DANILO E. DOGUILES Friday 4th of April 2014 1 0 0 0 0 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 the country. “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
  2. 2. 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 Sufficiency Program. 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