DA turns over 4th rice processing center

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The Department of Agriculture has completed a project worth P785 million that involves the provision of four rice processing centers (RPCs), which are expected to reduce post-harvest losses in different parts of the country.

Turned over by the DA Sunday was the RPC in Matanao, Davao del Sur, the fourth to be built under the project funded mainly by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica).

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is the project’s proponent.

According to PhilMech, Koica provided a total of P649 million, or about 83 percent of the cost for the entire package, while the Philippine government shelled out a counterpart fund of P136.45 million.

“The four RPCs (are) among the most modern rice processing facilities in the country,” PhilMech Executive Director Rex L. Bingabing said in a statement.

The other three, which started commercial operations during the past two years, are located at Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan; Pototan, Iloilo; and Pilar, Bohol.

Bingabing said each facility will benefit rice farmers within a 50-kilometer radius and is equipped with five mechanical dryers, multi-pass state-of-the-art milling facility equipped with color sorter, length grader and automatic bagger.

Each of the RPCs can process 50 tons, or 1,000 bags, of palay daily for drying and 500 bags daily for milling. Each facility can store 22,000 bags.

Earlier this month, the DA released data that showed that first-semester palay output might have inched up by 2 percent year on year.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, who is coordinator of the National Rice Program, said that based on the latest assessment of the DA’s field units in the regions, nationwide output of unmilled rice still showed a “minimal increase,” even if Cagayan Valley and Central Visayas bore the brunt of the El Niño phenomenon.

In the first six months of 2012, total output was pegged at about 7.9 million metric tons (MMT). This means that January-June palay harvest this year may be at some 8.05 MMT.

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