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P190-m rice processing center launched

STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan—Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. said the Rice Processing Complex in Tebag here will boost the productivity of marginal planters after its management and operations has been turned over to farmers’ organizations.

He said the Department of Agriculture and the capitol conveyed the responsibility of handling the P190-million facility to the stakeholders themselves to minimize post-harvest losses and increase income levels as a result.

Espino, however, urged the Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators Association (PFIA) led by Oftociano Manalo and the Association of Land Bank-Assisted Cooperatives Association (ALBACOPA) under Levi F. Bautista to get their act together.

The processing hub was donated by the South Korean government on September 5, 2011 to the provincial government and DA to be operated by the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR).

He said the RPC incurred losses in NABCOR’S watch for three years.

The RPC was built in November 2009 with counterpart funds of P150 million from KOICA, P32 million from the DA and P8 million plus the one-hectare lot from the provincial government.

PFIA is composed of 17 member-irrigators while ALBACOPA is made up of 13 cooperatives.

The turnover was attended by DA Regional Director Valentino Perdido, DA-RFO1 Regional Technical Director Paz L. Mones, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Provincial Director Maan Francisco, and the RPC operational managers of Iloilo, Davao, and Bohol among others.

Pangasinan’s RPC is one of four rice processing complexes in the country and the first one to be managed and operated by local farmers.

After the ceremony, the provincial government distributed fruit-tree seedlings  and mangrove propagules to planters at the nearby Provincial Nursery.

Dolly Moya, of the Provincial Agriculture’s office, said about 110,000 seedlings were given to barangay councils, public schools and non-government organizations as part of the reforestation and environment protection program.

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