The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) is now preparing for next month’s bidding of P5-billion worth of farm machineries to be funded by Rice Tariffication Law’s (RTL) Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). 


In a briefing, PHilMech Executive Director Baldwin G. Jallorina Jr. told reporters that the agency wants to avoid another delay when it comes to the distribution of rice farm machineries under RCEF. 

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That is why PhilMech is targeting to conduct this April the bidding and acquisition of the next batch of farm machines worth P5 billion.

To recall, RTL or the Republic Act (RA) 11203 mandates RCEF, which is the tax collected from rice imports, to get P10 billion a year from 2019 to 2024 or a total of six years.

Of this, P5 billion allocated annually for the distribution of farm machines at no cost to qualified farmer cooperatives and associations (FCAs).

Due to delays, PhilMech had to rush and complete the bidding and purchase of P10 billion worth farm machineries using its RCEF for 2019 and 2020. 

To date, 15,046 units of various farm machines have been procured out of the targeted 23,378 units.

Of the total, 13,499 were delivered and distributed to qualified FCAs, benefitting at least 155,000 million farmers.

Jallorina said the problem now is that local manufacturing companies are finding it hard to deliver the committed number of machineries due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which enforced a limited workforce across all businesses in the country, 

Nevertheless, he said he is hoping that by April, all the machineries procured under 2019 and 2020 RCEF were already released and ready for distribution.

When asked if the agency can also distribute all the farm machineries that will be bid out and procured under 2021 RCEF within the year, Jallorina said “we will try”.

This, since the agency is planning to conduct an early procurement for the 2022 RCEF in anticipation of the 2022 presidential election, which imposes a ban on public works.

Meanwhile, PHilMech has also been conducting training for members of FCAs, and has reached all of the 57 provinces covered under RCEF.

Also, the Training Courses on the Operation and Maintenance of Rice Machines have mostly conducted face-to-face already, despite the pandemic, also covering the 57 provinces under the program.

When conducting face-to-face trainings, PHilMech makes sure that basic health protocols are observed like adequate physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and sanitizing venues before and after the conduct of training sessions.

The training sessions also include actual operation and maintenance of farm machines, which are in the open fields that reduce risk of Covid-19 infections.

“We at PHilMech are also getting ready to perform a bigger role in helping revive the Philippine economy from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, by also changing the mindset and orientation of farmers, or for them to become more receptive to modern solutions like mechanization and skills upgrading,” Jallorina said.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/04/01/philmech-gears-up-for-april-bidding-of-p5-b-worth-of-rcef-machineries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=philmech-gears-up-for-april-bidding-of-p5-b-worth-of-rcef-machineries)