Palawan farmers and fisherfolk are asking the Department of Agriculture (DA) for additional post harvest facilities to be used for drying rice crops and preserving perishable products.
The National Food Authority (NFA) here noted that Palawan farmers need additional post-harvest facilities to meet the demand for rice grains during the lean months and to achieve reasonable prices for them.
Ferlita Ancheta, NFA Palawan officer-in-charge, said farmers need post-harvest drying facilities that will lessen grain moisture content to a safe level for storing.
“It would be better if they will place mechanical dryers that our farmers really need, especially during the rainy season, which incidentally coincides with the harvest time of main crop production,” Ancheta said in an interview on Thursday.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Board Members Marivic Roxas and Albert Rama, in separate resolutions filed Tuesday, said the drying and cold storage facilities are particularly needed in the towns of Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, Aborlan, and Narra in southern Palawan, and Taytay in the north.
Roxas said the solar dryers “are very important” to the farmers, particularly during the rainy season, and hopes that Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol will help to turn these into reality.
Although there are already five existing units of the NFA, she said these are not enough to accommodate all farmers in the province.
“These solar dryers can help our farmers in drying their rice crops to avoid losses, especially when it’s raining,” Roxas stated.
Rama’s resolution requesting for a cold storage facility in Aborlan, on the other hand, was passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in recognition of the fisherfolk’s need to preserve fresh food products.
“The establishment of cold storage facility will protect the quality and prevention of damage of fresh products. They can extend the shelf life of fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, and marine products tremendously,” Rama said.
He added that it will also “improve the income of farmers and fishermen of Aborlan and nearby municipalities.
Currently, Aborlan, a first class town located in the south of the province, has no existing storage facility for fresh products.
This is the reason why some fishermen and vegetable farmers are losing income due to product staling, according to Rama.