GRI party list representative Wilbert Lee is pushing for the passage of a bill requiring the government to build and provide post-harvest facilities to reduce post-harvest production losses and increase incomes farmers.
In filing House Bill (HB) 3958 or the Post-Harvest Facilities Support Act, Lee emphasized the need to provide warehouses, rice mills and transportation facilities, including essential equipment such as flatbed dryers and threshers to increase production.
“During our consultation with farmers and agricultural workers, one of the solutions we found is to bridge the gap between domestic supply and demand and increase productivity through post-harvest facilities provided by the government,” Lee said.
Republic Act 8435 or the “Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act” defines post-harvest activities as those involving threshing, drying, milling, grading, storage, and handling of produce. and other activities such as stripping, winnowing, shredding and washing.
Post-harvest facilities for the conduct of these activities include drying and grinding facilities, fish ports and landings, ice factories and refrigerated storage facilities, processing plants, warehouses, processing stations procurement and market and transport infrastructure.
Under HB 3958, the Department of Public Works and Roads, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Land Reform (DAR) and agricultural cooperatives will construct warehouses and rice mills in each rice-producing municipality and city in the Philippines: provided that, in the initial phase of the program, each district with at least one rice-producing municipality is the beneficiary of at least one warehouse and one rice mill.
In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry, in consultation with the DA, DAR and agricultural cooperatives, will provide the equipment and machinery necessary for the operation of these warehouses and rice mills such as flat dryers and threshers, as well as as the necessary means of transport. facilities.
“With the vision of employing state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained personnel, post-harvest facilities, especially in rice-intensive regions, should be able to produce properly dried paddy and, therefore, rice higher quality machined,” Lee said.
“The presence of these facilities should also provide a safety net for farmers during periods of oversupply, when drying facilities are overused and private traders are unwilling to accept wet paddy and/or offer very low purchase price”.