BACOLOD CITY – The sugar industry’s push to shift to mechanization to reduce production costs and increase sugar supply in the country received a huge boost on Saturday.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) have received agricultural equipment worth P314 million donated by the Japanese government to small-scale sugarcane farmers.
Agriculture Applye Jumpei Tachikawa of the Embassy of Japan presented the grant to Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona, and beneficiary representatives from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Modernizing Philippine agriculture is key to meeting the president’s and society’s expectations for cheaper and accessible food products, Laurel said.
Laurel thanked the Japanese government for the 80 tractors, 48 sugarcane planters, 48 flail mowers and 5 power harrows donated under the Japan Non-Project Assistance Program during the handover ceremony at the SRA Complex in Bacolod City.
He stated that the IW played a significant role in assessing, approving and monitoring the progress of the project titled Farm Mechanization Program for Small Landowners Growing Sugarcane.
“Mechanization reduces heavy labor, alleviates labor shortages, and improves the productivity and timeliness of agricultural operations,” Laurel said.
He also praised the SRA for steering the sugarcane industry towards increasing production through smallholder sugarcane farmers.
Laurel reiterated that he would consult with stakeholders, including the massive district attorney’s bureaucracy, to carry out President Marcos Jr.’s orders. on lowering the prices of foodstuffs such as rice, sugar, meat, chicken, fish and vegetables by increasing food production.
Laurel noted that his experience climbing the corporate ladder allowed him to see firsthand the problems facing the agricultural sector and the need for national and local governments to work together to solve the problems of Filipino farmers.
“I have traveled a path related to administrative responsibility. “I went to see first-hand conditions across the agricultural sector to see how effectively national and local authorities are addressing the pressing issues of Filipino farmers and how they are working together to support the country’s food security,” he said.
Laurel thanked the Japanese Embassy official involved in the grant.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Jumpei Tachikawa, First Secretary and Councilor for Agriculture at the Embassy of Japan, who played a key role in the success of this program,” he said.
“Our partnership with the Japanese government helps us solve this problem through modernization and mechanization. Our two nations are united by common interests. Our trade partnership, which brings greater prosperity and opportunity to the people of both our countries, has expanded dramatically in recent years,” he added.
SRA Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez were present at the handover ceremony.
Benitez said: “Agriculture today is not about manual labor, but about mechanization, which allows for increased productivity.”
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