(Re-elected Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and good, poses with Philmech officials after keynoting its 41st anniversary on Tuesday. Photo by Armand Galang)
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Reelected Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, urged Philmech to upscale support to farmers by providing farm machineries.
Villar, who was keynote speaker during the Philmech 41st anniversary celebration here on Tuesday, said mechanization is vital in empowering farmers amid liberalization in agriculture.
Studies showed, according to the senator, that labor is the biggest chunk, in the production cost of farmers.
“Yan ang mission natin, na kailangan e i-empower nila yung mga farmer sa Pilipinas by giving them machineries and teaching them how to use it, how to maintain it,” Villar said in an interview after the event.
She stressed Philmech is one of the agencies specifically stated in the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law that provides a P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Emhancement Fund (RCEF).
Aside from mechanization, Villar stressed the need to encourage farmers to use inbred rice which the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Phil- Rice), also based in this city, produces.
She warned the Department of Agriculture (DA) against using RCEF allocation in purchasing hybrid rice seeds.
“Pwede nilang gamitin yung P7-billion nila pero hindi ang RCEF,” she said.
As yet another form of support, she asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to use its P28-billion conditional cash transfer fund (CCT), popularly known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), in procuring locally produced rice.
“Kumausap sila ng mga kooperatiba ng farmers doon sila bumili and then doon din i-distribute sa lugar na where the cooperatives are,” she said.