SOUTH Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. on Wednesday committed President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to deliver an average of 8-ton rice yield per hectare under the province’s consolidated rice production and mechanization program.
Gracing the kick-off of the program in Barangay Liwanay, Banga, South Cotabato, President Marcos asked the governor how many tons of rice is expected to be produced with the help of the consolidated rice output and mechanization scheme.
“Gov. Jun, ano ‘yung inaasahan niyo? Saan tayo aabot? How many tons per hectare kaya ang maaani natin?” the President asked, to which the governor answered “eight tons.”
Based on available data, the current average yield per hectare in the province is around 4 tons.
“So tataas ang ani, eight tons per hectare. Isipin mo, 160 bags per hectare na ‘yan. Maganda na ‘yung deal sa production side,” the chief executive said in his speech during the event.
President Marcos, who also acts as Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, acknowledged the efforts of the provincial government of South Cotabato in coming up with the program that would ultimately increase the farmers yield and bring down the cost of production.
“Itong ganitong klaseng programa ay ito talaga ang aming iniisip na nako-consolidate ninyo lahat ng iba’t ibang function. Lahat nung mga gawain para sa paghanda, para sa pagtulong sa magsasaka, para sa pagpapababa ng presyo ng processing, at para mabigyan naman, mabalik sa ating mga magsasaka ang kikitain para sa pagpabili ng bigas,” the President noted.
“Ang presyo, ang production cost natin sa Pilipinas, ang labor cost natin, ‘yung labor na nilalagay – ‘yung nag-ani, tapos ‘yung nag-ani, nagtatanim, nag-aani – ‘yung labor cost na ‘yan doble ‘yan dito sa Pilipinas kung ikukumpara mo sa Vietnam at saka sa Thailand. ‘Yun ang kakumpitensiya natin, Thailand at saka Vietnam,” he added.
The President said this kind of program is in line with the DA’s Masagana Rice Industry Development Program, which aims to raise the level of production of rice and other important commodities and strengthen the value chain from the farmers up to the consumers.
The convergence initiative aimed to pool resources, share knowledge, and coordinate efforts to achieve sustainable rice production and uplift the lives of farmers by increasing their income.
The President added that the answer to these issues plaguing the agriculture sector is mechanization or the use of machineries to facilitate the processes of farming and rice production.
“Ngunit hindi magagamit ‘yang mga malalaking makinaryang ‘yan kapag ang ginagamitan lamang ay less than one hectare. Kaya’t pinag-uusapan lagi ‘yung consolidation, kailangan ipagsama-sama,” he said.
“Iyong ‘yung ginawa. Sinimulan ninyo nung 100 hectares, napunta na sa 1,400 hectares…Iyan tama, bagay na bagay ‘yan diyan sa mga malalaking makinarya,” the President pointed out.
During the event, the President also led the turnover of Php115,311,860 worth of farm assistance to the beneficiaries, including a warehouse, hauling truck, hybrid seeders, rice processing center, rice seeder, and inbred rice seeds, among others.
Drawn up by the local government, the program aims to create an organized and efficient rice production and marketing system that will increase production, improve grain quality, and achieve global competitiveness through efficient agricultural practices.
It also aims to address issues such as low utilization of farm inputs and technologies by individual farmers, lack of synchronization in the implementation of cropping patterns among farmers, and inadequate marketing systems.
The program Involves consolidating small farm holders into a compact rice area, which will be given access to services of the national and local governments such as farm mechanization, production loans, drying, storage, and marketing. A cropping pattern and rice production plan shall be adopted by the consolidated farm production area.
To date, the provincial government has organized six consolidated farm production areas. The consolidated farm production area in Barangay Dahay, Surallah started its operation in May 2023.
Among those who attended the event included Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa, and Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil.
Other attendees were Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Suharto Datu Teng Mangudadatu, South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Isidro Lumayag, 2nd District Rep. Peter Miguel, and ANGAT Party-list Rep. Reynaldo Tamayo Sr.