DA turn-over Php 16-M rice processing complex in Ilocos town

Piddig, Ilocos Norte, July 24 (PNA) –The Department of Agriculture has formally turned over a state-of-the-art rice processing complex to this town’s farmers’ association on Friday with Secretary Proceso Alcala as guest of honor and speaker.

Attended by 48 Zanjera groups with more than 13,000 officers and members in the rice-producing towns of Piddig and Solsona, the DA secretary hoped the facility would inspire local farmers here to appreciate the help of the government and push for development reforms at the grassroot levels.

Funded by the DA with a counterpart from the Piddig farmers’ association, the RPC in Piddig is one of the 28 milling facilities established by the national government in rice-producing provinces entire the country. Under the program, the DA funded 85 percent of the cost of the RPC and the remaining 15 percent is a counterpart of the beneficiary. As part of the agreement, the program beneficiary must undergo proper training to qualify as recipient of the RPC.

Employing the concept of value chain in managing an agribusiness, the RPC will be manage by a competent farmer-organization here with the local government unit of Piddig, overseeing its operation and management.

For example, instead of selling palay products to traders and bring them to Bulacan, the RPC can directly buy the farmers’ produce here and process it for milling and other value-added products to be known as a product of Piddig.

This way, local farmers and producers here will directly benefit from the program instead of middlemen.

Town mayor Eduardo “Eddie” Guillen who is a civil engineer by profession and a businessman himself, said that based on the value chain analysis, if palay is sold at Php18-Php20 per kilo to traders, the value chain can be as much as Php 20 if the same kilo of palay is process for value adding product locally.

In her speech, Governor Imee Marcos expressed hopes that the newly-established RPC would work well in Piddig, considering extreme weather conditions and occurrence of typhoon greatly affecting the production of farmers here.

“This is a great and historic town of Piddig better known for warfare and for heroism than for agriculture. Mahirap ang lupa rito. Mas malaki ang bahaging Cordillera at Ilocos Norte mountain ranges kesa sa patag na bukid. Ganun pa man, napakagaling ng ating mga magsasaka rito, ipinagmamalaki natin sila na kahit papaano nakakatiis subali’t sila rin ang unang napinsala ng tagtuyot,” Marcos said citing Ilocos farmers’ current situation which needs to be properly addressed among others.

Responding to the farmers’ request for more small water impounding projects, farm inputs and equipment, Alcala assured Ilocos farmers to become the first beneficiaries of at least five solar power pumps to be tested here.

During his dialogue with farmers, Alcala announced a surprised raffle draw where he also distributed various farm inputs and machineries which include 5 shallow tube wells, 10 male goats or bucks, 2 units of rice thresher, 3 hand tractor and 2 hand tractor with trailer among others.(PNA)