Philippines seeks yen loan for farm mechanization
The Department of Agriculture is proposing a yen loan with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the equivalent of P900 million for full mechanization of farming in a first batch of 10,000 hectares of rice farms under a program to modernize agriculture and lower cost of food.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pi?ol said under the Philippine Agricultural Modernization Program, the department proposes to provide farmers in 10 model sites nationwide with farm equipment that includes grains dryer and post-harvest facilities, technical support and institutional development.
Each model sites would have clusters of rice farms totaling 1,000-hectares per area, Pi?ol said. In each of these clusters, the department will coordinate with established cooperatives to handle the management of the farm equipment and the lease of the equipment to local farmers, he added.
He said the department hopes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with JICA for the farm mechanization program loan during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Manila during the third week of January.
Pi?ol said the DA hopes the farm mechanization program could succeed in raising productivity of local farmers and reduce post-harvest losses, which reaches an average of 16 percent of rice harvest nationwide.
Raising productivity includes lowering average production cost of rice farmers, which is currently estimated at an average of P12.41 per kilo of rice produced nationwide. DMS