Solon pushes for post-harvest facilities in every town, city

MANILA-- A lawmaker at the House of Representatives has filed a bill seeking the construction of post-harvest facilities in every rice-producing municipality and city in the country.

AGBIAG Party-list Representative Michaelina Antonio filed House Bill 5916, otherwise known as the "Post-Harvest Facilities Support Act of 2017", proposing the construction of warehouses and rice mills for Filipino rice farmers.

In her explanatory note, Antonio cited the need to provide rice farmers the necessary post-harvesting support by replacing tradition methods with more advanced procedures like mechanized drying and harvesting.

Citing the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Antonio said a total of 16.47 percent grain losses are incurred during post-harvest activities.

Farmers remain the poorest in our society. It is high time we give them the assistance they need by making appropriate technologies and facilities available to them at every stage of rice production, and this necessarily entails providing them post-harvest support, Antonio said.

Under her bill, the Department of Public Works and Highways, together with the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, shall construct warehouses and rice mills in every rice-producing municipality and city in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry shall provide the equipment and machinery necessary to make the post-harvesting facilities operational. These include dryers, silos, and modern processing equipment.

The bill further provides that warehouses and rice mills, including the equipment and machinery, shall be sold to the accredited farmers' cooperatives, which will be given 25 years to amortize the facilities without interest.

A total of PHP1 billion pesos is initially appropriated for the program.

Source: Philippines News Agency