PhilMech: Rice planters get 15,246 farm machines


The government may soon be able to complete the distribution of 15,900 farm machines and postharvest technologies worth P10 billion to rice farmers more than two years after the rice competitiveness enhancement fund (RCEF) was created.

Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) Executive Director Baldwin G. Jallorina said his agency has distributed a total of 15,246 various farm machines nationwide out of its target of 15,900 units under its 2019 and 2020 RCEF mechanization program.

Under the RCEF, PhilMech will receive an annual budget of P5 billion for six years to bankroll a mechanization program that seeks to reduce postharvest losses and increase rice yield.

RCEF started in 2019 following the enactment of Republic Act 11203, which liberalized the country’s rice industry. The law also created the annual P10-billion RCEF, which will be in place until 2025 to improve the domestic rice sector’s competitiveness. (Related story:

Since the start of the RCEF mechanization program, the PhilMech, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), has faced various challenges—from bidding to distribution—resulting in the backlog and delays of delivery of the much-needed interventions. (Related story: %-of-goal/)

Jallorina said the remaining 654 farm machines funded by the 2019 and 2020 RCEF are allocated for farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in island provinces and coastal areas.

The PhilMech said a few months ago that it has been experiencing difficulties in delivering the postharvest technologies and facilities in island provinces due to Covid-19-related mobility restrictions. (Related story:

Jallorina said PhilMech has distributed 7,290 units out of its 7,912-unit goal under the 2019 RCEF mechanization fund, representing an accomplishment rate of 92 percent. As for the 2020 RCEF mechanization fund, PhilMech has achieved an 88.5-percent distribution rate after it gave away 7,078 units out of its 7,988-unit target.

“We hope to complete the delivery of 2019 and 2020 [RCEF mechanization programs] before the end of this month,” he said in a recent virtual press briefing.

Jallorina said Western Visayas was the top recipient of farm machines at 2,180 units. It was followed by Bicol Region with 1,995; Central Luzon, 1,586 units; and Ilocos Region, 1,320 units.

“Despite the Covid pandemic, PhilMech has strived to distribute farm machines under the RCEF-Mechanization Program nationwide, or as far as Caraga and Region 12 [Soccsksargen] in Mindanao,” he said.

“Distributing farm machines nationwide proved to be a challenge for PhilMech, but we persevered as we strongly believe that increasing the farm mechanization level in the Philippines through the RCEF-Mechanization Program will help the rural economy recover amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Jallorina also warned the public about unscrupulous people trying to extort money from FCAs and even machine suppliers in the form of so-called “processing fees” and “facilitation fees.”

“We at PhilMech have received reports of persons with ill motive who ask for ‘processing fees’ from FCAs to facilitate the awarding/deliveries of farm machines and ask ‘facilitation fees’ from machinery suppliers who were given notices of award,” he said.

“Amid these reports, we at PhilMech would like to emphasize that we have never authorized and will not tolerate the collection of both the processing and facilitation fees.”

Jallorina said the agency has already launched an investigation to determine the veracity of reports on the extortion scheme.

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