RPC helps Iloilo farmers be competitive
(by Gio Anton T. Barroga  6/17/2019)

Farmers in Iloilo have broken off from traders’ malpractice through the Iloilo Rice Processing Complex (IRPC) operated and managed by Pototan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PFMPC).

PFMPC chairman Andrei Celiz said that private businessmen and traders used to have unfair control over the produce of Iloilo farmers before the IRPC was built in 2011.

Celiz disclosed that farmers selling their rice harvest are usually conned on the weight of their produce. With IRPC, farmers are now assured that their produce are properly weighed; giving tillers the right payment for their hard-earned labor.

Celiz also added that rice processing is easier with the facility, especially during rainy season, as IRPC is complete from drying to milling. The state-of-the-art facility also has a warehouse for storage of rice.

Rodel Parcon, a Pototan farmer said “Hindi kami nagdududa kung dito kami magbenta ng palay kahit parehas lang ang presyo sa labas. Dito, eksaktong eksakto ang kilo ng aming palay gaya nung na-kilo namin sa bahay. Ang ibang traders, medyo dumidiskarte. Kaya kampanteng kampante kami kung dito namin dadalhin. (The buying price of rice here is the same with the outside traders. However, we are guaranteed that the weight of our produce is accurate. Outside traders would usually take advantage of us [by manipulating the scales]).”

Remelyn Recoter, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 6’s Executive Director, explained that the RPC, along with DA and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Mechanization and Development, took part in training members of the PFMPC before the co-op took over in 2015.

The Iloilo Rice Processing Complex is one of four KOICA-funded RPCs in the country. It is located in Pototan, Iloilo. Pangasinan, Bohol and Davao Del Sur each have KOICA-funded RPCs.

All RPCs are equipped with both drying and milling facilities. Last April 2019, the IRPC reported a milling recovery of 66.4%, although Recoter mentioned that it had reached 68% before. With this, all RPCs aim to reduce postharvest losses to also increase a farmer’s income.

Each RPC comes with five mechanical dryers and a multi-pass state-of-the-art milling facility with color sorter, length grader and bagger. However, farmers such as Parcon hopes for more dryers in the IRPC.

The IRPC also has two trucks (6-wheeler and 10-wheeler) that they use to haul palay from the harvesting site all the way to the RPC. Good thing is, they’re always just a call away.

Farmers can live easier knowing that their products are being sold directly to the market. With the middleman eliminated, their high quality milled rice can go directly to the market to be sold or to other retailers at a more competitive price.

To date, many farmers have benefited from the services of the IRPC, with more farmers to be helped in the future a certainty.

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