RICE farmers in Surigao del Sur are raising their productivity using post-harvest facilities provided under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Farm Mechanization Program, the department said.
The Rice Processing Center (RPC) project hopes to give farmers access to milling facilities to reduce post-harvest losses and their dependence on middlemen to mill their palay.
The DA said in a statement Friday that it has invested P32 million in RPC facilities in the province, serving 5,000 hectares of riceland across five municipalities.
It said there are six RPCs in the area.
Johnny Dahonog, chairman of the Pandanan, Banlas, Tabinay, Bagunhi-an (PABANTABA) Farmers Association, was quoted as saying that rice farmers in the area have traditionally found it difficult to sell palay during the rainy season.
“During the rainy season of the year, [the] quality of harvested palay is reduced resulting in low buying price, even to the extent that traders reject our products,” he added.
Farmers with no access to facilities typically sun-dry their palay on any open space available, which explains why in rice-growing country palay can be seen drying on highways.
The International Rice Research Institute does not recommended this method of sun-drying due to its high loss rate from excessive drying and the potential for breakage of the rice grains, lowering the crop’s quality grade and price.
Mr. Dahonog’s association received the P16 million worth of DA assistance, reducing labor costs and boosting yield.
Its mill has the capacity to process 1.2 tons per hour with a 65% recovery rate, against the 50% recovery rate from small rice millers.
The mill gives the association the opportunity to engage in commercial milling, moving the farmers up the value chain. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato