Farmers group said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) must immediately provide more large-capacity mechanical grain dryers to aid farmers who are harvesting their palay crops this season. Kailangan na magpusisyon at maglagay pa ng mas maraming mechanical dryers ang DA at NFA sa mga lugar kung saan nag-aanihan na ang mga magsasaka ng palay.
“La Nina started last October 15. The DA and NFA should have prepositioned working mechanical dryers months before the harvest season. Now, farmers are scrambling to dry their harvest on pavements or so-called solar dryers depending on good weather conditions,” according to KMP vice-chairperson Lito Lumapas, also the leader of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon.
The group said that aside from providing mechanical dryers, the DA and NFA must grant subsidies to farmers’ associations and cooperatives for the operational cost of mechanical dryers. KMP said the provision of mechanical dryers should not be dependent on farmers’ registry status to the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture or RSBSA. “Dryers must be readily available for use by farmers in palay and corn-producing villages,” Lumapas said.
“Para matuyo at mabili ng NFA ang palay ng mga magsasaka, kailangan tuyong-tuyo at nasa pamantayan ng 14% moisture content. Lalong kailangan ng mga mechanical dryers,” Lumapas said.
Meanwhile, KMP also questioned PhilMech for the agency’s low disbursement of its P15-billion allocation from the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for the past three years. Based on reports, PhilMech disbursed only P859.68 million, or 6 percent of the agency’s total RCEF appropriation and nearly 10 percent of the obligated fund. As of August 2021, PhilMech’s notice of cash allocation was at P11.31 billion, while the agency only obligated P8.64 billion. The agency’s unsatisfactory performance is also glaring as it only achieved 54% of its target procurement and distribution of much-needed farm equipment for 2019 and 2020.
Saan ginagamit ang bilyun-bilyon pang pondo ng RCEF na inilagay sa Philmech at kung ginagamit man, bakit napakabagal na makarating sa mga magsasaka? asked KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos. ###