VILLASIS—This town, dubbed as the eggplant capital of Pangasinan, is now positioning to be the province’s rice barn as well with its new harvester-thresher machine and palay drying facility that will soon be fully operational.
The multimillion-peso-drying facility will help farmers boost their production because it will provide a permanent space for drying grains even during the rainy season.
Mayor Libradita Abrenica said the complex, which will also serve as a warehouse for farm products, will also stop the practice of drying palay on roads, which puts both the harvest and commuters at risk.
Engr. Gilbert Nebres, the facility manager, said farmers were elated by the results of the facility’s trial operations.
The harvester-thresher machinery, meanwhile, has started providing free services to the farms in Barangay Unzad as part of its trial run.
Villasis, which has 21 barangays involved in agricultural production, is the first town in the province to own and operate the P2-M machine, which uses German technology.
Nebres said the machine will work alongside the town’s five tractors for faster production with better quality and quantity of yield.
“Andito na ung combined harvester/thresher at dryer, mami-minimize yung losses sa field katulad sa paggapas, sa paghahakot, sa threshing, at sa solar drying. Tsaka less labor pa,” Nebres said.
These new facilities will also be made available for the use of farmers in neighboring towns for a minimal fee.
The 2.5-hectare site of the complex in Barangay Unzad was paid from municipal funds while the cost of the warehouse and equipment came from the town’s share in the tobacco excise tax. The construction of the drying facility was initiated by 5th District Rep. Kimi Cojuangco.
Meanwhile, the mayor encouraged farmers to plant only two varieties of rice at most to maximize efficiency of the machine.
She added that soon the local government will subsidize some farming costs as well.–Johanne R. Macob