RIZAL, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, November 07, 2021 – The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) program awarded rice machinery worth Php 2,296,296.00 to Buhid-Mangyan farmers to boost IP’s food security.
SAAD awarded one (1) unit of stationary rice mill for each IP associations involved in lowland rainfed rice production project - Pangkalikasang Samahan ng Buhid sa Bato Singit (PSBBS), Samahan ng Katutubong Buhid sa Sitio Panlabayan 1 (SKBSP), and Kalipunan ng Tribung Buhid Lanaban, Kasuyan at Langog (KTBLKL).
According to Mario S. Paz Jr., SAAD Area Coordinator, the rice mill was requested by the IP farmers. Rice mill is used to remove the husk and the bran layers from rice to produce whole rice kernels that are sufficiently milled, free of impurities and contain a minimum number of broken kernels.
Before they are able to consume their produce, beneficiaries would have to cross at least two rivers to the town proper for their harvest to be milled.
If the river is shallow enough, farmers rent vehicles such as hand tractors or tractors that are able to cross the river to move their produce. If there are no available vehicles, farmers cross the river and carry their harvest on their backs one by one and wait until a vehicle becomes available.
During harsh weather conditions, farmers are not able to cross which causes delay for milling process and shipping other produce such as bananas and root crops, compromising their food supply.
Cito Galvez, chairperson of SKBSP shared how having their own rice mill contribute to food security for their community, “Malaking bagay na mayroon na kaming sariling rice mill. Hindi na namin kailangang pumunta sa bayan para magpagiling para sa aming sasainging bigas (It is a great relief for us to have our own rice mill. We will not need to go to the town just to have our harvest milled for our food).”
The beneficiaries are looking into providing milling service to other farmers in their sitio who are not SAAD beneficiaries. This will open opportunities for the associations to generate income and help other farmers outside their group as well.
The associations, with a total of 194 members, cultivate an estimated land area of 158 ha for lowland rainfed rice. The beneficiaries have received a rice production package from SAAD in 2020 to boost their production.
Brgy. Manoot and Brgy Rizal where the associations are situated, are two of 19 End Local Communist Armed Conflict identified areas in the province.