Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino highlighted the best practices of Negros Occidental in farm mechanization during the recent Farm Mechanization Summit in Pampanga.
Masculino, who was among the resource speakers in the three-day conference, said the provincial government has been pushing mechanization for local farmers.
“We have a model farm in Barangay Taloc in Bago City where we apply mechanization, including extension works and technology,” he said.
The 200-hectare model farm is run by a farmers’ association with more than 100 members, he said.
“We are working to lessen the production cost. At an average, it is P12 per kilo of palay, or unhusked rice. Compared to neighboring countries, like Vietnam and Thailand, it’s very high,” he said.
Through the practice of mechanization, as well as the implementation of technology and fertilization at the model farm since the last quarter of 2018, they were able to bring down the production cost, from P12 to P6.72 per kilo of palay.
He said they are planning to scale up the implementation of the technology to the different areas in the province to make the farmers competitive, and bring down production cost.
“The only way we can compete is through a low production cost. This will also allow the farmers to gain big profits,” he added.
Moreover, he said, the province can avail of more allocation for farm equipment through the government’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program, which has an annual appropriation of P10 billion for the next six years.
“We will be receiving 32 sets of farm equipment, including tractor, transplanter, and harvester, for six years. Each set costs P5 million,” he added.
He stressed that local farmers can be competitive as long as the government focuses on technology and extension workers who can help address their concerns through a pro-active approach.*
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