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San Carlos rice farmers receive P5M in equipment

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The San Carlos City-based Quezon Codcod RiceBIS Farmers’ Agriculture Cooperative (QUECORIFACO) in Negros Occidental yesterday received a truck and a rice mill worth P5.2 million.

QUECORIFACO is composed of five associations, with more than 300 members.

Leo Sta. Ines, OIC director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said QUECORIFACO is the only farmers group in the Visayas chosen by the Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation (BPIF) Inc. as their beneficiary along with two other farmer cooperatives from Luzon and Mindanao.

Sta. Ines said the cooperative, based in Brgy. Quezon, San Carlos City, qualified because they have “a strong organization and goal to improve not just as farmers but also improve the lives of their members.”

He added that they forwarded the qualifications of QUECORIFACO to the BPIF which approved their recommendation. BPIF supports organizations that want to go into agribusiness ventures.

Anileen Pajarillo, implementer of the Rice Business Innovations System (RiceBIS) Community Program of PHILRice in Negros, said: “QueCoRiFACo currently comprises five associations with plans to expand their reach across 415 hectares, benefiting over 300 farmers.” “To prepare for this expansion, cooperative members have undergone training in capacity enhancement, packaging and labeling, and good agricultural practices (PhilGAP).

“Soon, their farms will undergo assessment and certification by PhilGAP,” Pajarillo said.

The turnover and blessing ceremony was held at the Quezon Multi-purpose Gym, San Carlos City, and attended by BPIF Executive Director Ma. Carmina Marquez and BPIF officers and PhilRice Deputy Executive Director for Development Karen Eloisa Barroga.

Hernan Samson, QUECORIFACO chairman, expressed gratitude for the grant, emphasizing its role in reinforcing their commitment to fellow farmers.

“As farmers, we support each other, especially given our resource constraints. With this grant, we can fulfill our duty as stewards of our members and communities,” he added.*

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