Wish come true for Ilocos Norte farmers with new agri equipment

Elbert Caluya, a 63 year-old farmer from Barangay Baay, Batac City beams with pride and joy as he gazed and touched for the first time a brand new four-wheel-drive tractor he and members of the Boundary Farmer’s Association Inc. (BAFI) can now call their own.

Funded by the Ilocos Norte government through its share in tobacco excise tax, Caluya’s group is among the recipients of 10 units hand tractor and two four-wheeled tractors that were turned over to them in front of the Capitol on Thursday afternoon.

“It has been a long-time dream for us to have a four-wheel-drive tractor. Today, our dream came true with the help of the government,” Caluya said in his capacity as president of BAFI.

With a four-wheel-drive tractor, Caluya said they can save more money for the payment of tractor service which is pegged around PHP5,000 per hectare.

In his short speech during a simple turn-over ceremony, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc urged the farmer-beneficiaries to take good care of the agri-equipment and maintain it to ensure its good running condition.

To increase their productivity, the governor told farmers to diversify their crops and embrace farm mechanization to ease the burden of traditional farming practices.

In support of the Ilocos Norte farmers, provincial agriculturist Norma Lagmay reported Thursday that another batch of agriculture inputs and farm machinery distribution was conducted in Batac City benefiting 67 farmers associations and cooperatives.

“For this batch alone, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated PHP125 million to assist our farmers gain more profit and ensure our food sufficiency,” she said.

Aside from the distribution of farm machinery, the agriculture department is also assisting farmers in revitalizing soil fertility by encouraging them to adopt organic farming practices.

In the midst of a national health crisis, the government is strengthening its agriculture sector by helping farmers to become more resilient as they embrace farm mechanization program.

With aging farmers and dwindling agricultural space due to urbanization, the DA hopes to reverse this trend by pushing for farm mechanization and encouraging the younger generation to take up agriculture courses through various scholarship grants.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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