The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has received various farm equipment worth PHP314 million from the Japanese government to boost the farm mechanization program of the sugar industry. Funded under Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid, the assistance package consists of 80 units of tractors, 48 units each of sugarcane planters and lateral flair mowers, and five units of power harrows. Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona, who earlier led the inspection of the newly arrived equipment at the SRA Bacolod office, thanked the Japanese government for the assistance, which he calls a 'blessing' for the sugar industry. 'This is a much-needed gift to our sugar farmers to increase productivity and efficiency. It is very timely as we just started the new milling season,' he said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. 'We, in the industry, are grateful to both the Japanese government and our own for this initiative that will go a long way in helping our sugar farmers become more efficient and productive,' he added. Of the 80 tractor units, 51 units will be turned over to sugarcane areas in the Visayas. Negros Occidental, the country's top sugar-producing province, will get 24 units while Negros Oriental will receive 11; Iloilo, six; Leyte, four; and Cebu and Capiz, three each. Sugar areas in Luzon will have 15 tractors while those in Mindanao, 14. The tractors and other farm equipment will be consigned to selected farmers' groups for a fee that is proportional to the cost of maintenance and upkeep. In 2021, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the SRA entered into a grant agreement with the Japanese government, paving the way for the procurement of the farm machinery and implements. Designated as the owner, the SRA is required to submit an impact assessment report to the DOF and the Japanese government three years after its implementation.
Source: Philippines News Agency