Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. assured farmer workers that modernization of agricultural facilities will give them more income with less effort at the demonstration on the use of the P2 million combined rice harvester and thresher machine in Brgy. Tabuanan, Bago City, yesterday.
Marañon said the province will make sure that farmers will still have jobs and income while improving agricultural inputs.
The machine is a pilot harvester that will be used by the province and, upon the arrival of new units from the DA, will be used by farmers who are organized under a cooperative or association, he said.
The province needs to modernize its agriculture facilities to help improve the agricultural production, while at the same time, addressing food security, Marañon said.
The governor also said the machine works faster and is more efficient if paddies are big enough to allow the machine to move freely.
Albert Barogo, agricultural engineer of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, yesterday said, the machine also reduces field losses when harvesting, threshing, drying, and milling.
Barogo said harvesting is the most critical stage in rice production because delayed harvest will decrease the rice quality that will result to lower market value.
Marañon also said that the Department of Agriculture has given the province P20 million for the development of the Rice Processing Center.
The center will be built in Bago City, right next to the Negros Occidental Provincial Jail, he said.
The funds will be used to purchase the rice mill facilities while the, province will provide the land area for the project and the building as its counterpart, the governor added.
Marañon said that rice mills in the province have an average of 60 percent rice recovery but with the RPC, rice recovery is expected to increase at a minimum of 6 percent.
The machine was granted through the On Farm Mechanization Program of DA where the province paid the 15 percent of its cost.
Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan said DA is allotting two more units of combined rice harvester and thresher for the province. *LTG