PILI, Camarines Sur, -– The Narangasan multi-purpose cooperative based in the town of Milagros in Masbate province recently received a rice processing facility built by the agriculture department (DA).
The building with an area of 300 square meters was completed at the cost of P56 million equipped with a multi-pass mill and a mechanical dryer which would use a biomass furnace. The mill has a capacity of one ton per hour.
Similar facilities are developed by the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization, a DA attached agency.
The Narangasan cooperative has 300 rice farmer-members which avails of the new technologies, hi-bred rice seeds and farm mechanization offered by the Agri-Pinoy program.
The cooperative is a beneficiary of the agriculture intervention in line with the government’s rice self-sufficiency target thru mechanization and modernization.
The first and similar processing facility in Bicol was turned over in June to the San Antonio Farmers Irrigators Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Buhi in Camarines Sur. The coop won the national rice achievers award of the DA last year.
While Bicol has attained 99.75 percent of the target for rice self-sufficiency last year, a 5.96-percent production growth rate over 2012, Bicolanos still endure steep price of milled rice in the market.
It is one thing to say that the region may have achieved a 118.19 per cent rice self-sufficiency, or that Bicolano farmers produced 18.19 percent more than the amount local consumers could eat. But the question here is why can’t and where can the consumer buy cheap rice and not worry that there will be enough supply in the local market?
Didn’t we just read that the government, thru the National Food Authority, is increasing its quota on the volume of rice that will be imported from either Vietnam, Thailand or another ASEAN-member supplier? Then, there is not enough rice. Talk of rice self-suffficiency attained.