ILOILO CITY: Farm mechanization is the only way for Ilonggo farmers to become competitive as the Philippines is bracing up for full integration with the Association of
South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.
Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala gave this observation during the farmers, fisherfolk and agricultural extension workers forum held at the Central Philippines University recently.
Alcala disclosed that 15 percent of the 2016 national budget on agriculture, or P1.5 billion, was earmarked for mechanization, while the 2017 budget is prepared to include additional mechanization funds to accelerate production and become competitive with the ASEAN countries.
Attended by more than 3,000 farmers, the forum sought to enhance agricultural practices to lower production cost with the government providing assistance and services to the local farmers.
Alcala also turned over P35.2 million worth of farm machineries to include 13 floating tillers, 40 hand tractors with implements, 11 pump and engine sets, 4 units of 4-wheel drive tractors, 5 units of hammer mills, 10 units of knapsack sprayers, 16 power sprayers, 5 mini 4-wheel drive tractors and 4 rice combine harvesters with mini 4-wheel drive tractors.
Meanwhile, P7.5 million worth of farm implements, post harvest equipment and production inputs such as hand tractors, reaper harvesters, mini 4-wheel drive tractors, pump and engines, vacuum pack sealers, hand tractor cultivators, and others were also given away to the farmers in the form of commitments.