BURAYOC, PAGUDPUD, ILOCOS NORTE – Rice farmers here recently tried the mechanical transplanter showcased in a techno demo facilitated by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program.
Used for rice establishment, the mechanical transplanter has helped farmers in RCEF techno demo sites dubbed as PalaySikatan.
Farmers who used the farm machine for one season said that it reduced transplanting cost by almost 50%. The cooperators reported that they used to spend P7,000 for manual transplanting, but with the mechanical transplanter, they only spent P3,000 for the rent including hauling.
“Here in Brgy. Burayoc, farmers, at first, doubted the efficiency of this machine. But recently, we were amazed that the mechanically-transplanted rice has better crop stand than the manually-transplanted,” farmer Sherryl Caalim said.
Golden Acra Empire Farmers Association Inc. trained the PalaySikatan farmer-cooperators on its use and operation.
The 6-ha PalaySikatan techno demo farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte also showcases NSIC Rc 222, Rc 216, Rc 160, Rc 402, Rc 480, and Rc 358 and combine harvester.
The RCEF-Seed Program – a component of the Rice Tariffication Law, allocates P3 billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help farmers produce rice that can compete in the international market. Farmers under this program can also avail of trainings, machines, and credit with low interest. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.
DA-PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program, and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects are in line with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita” battlecry.