MANILA - Some 1,100 rice-producing towns will receive tractors and other equipment to modernize the agriculture industry as soon as the Rice Tariffication Bill is signed into law, Senator Cynthia Villar said Friday.
Under the bill that was recently passed by the Congress on final reading, P5 billion will be allocated annually for the "mechanization" and "modernization" of rice fields and farmers, Villar said in an interview on DZMM.
Tractors, transplanters, harvesters, milling machines and dryers will be given for free to farmer cooperatives nationwide, she said.
They will also receive training on how to use and maintain these machines, she said.
"With the mechanization, we will attract younger farmers because what they don't want is working by hand," Villar said.
"Once income increases, more farmers would be encouraged to return to the agriculture industry."
The country's slow economic growth was dragged by a decline in agriculture output, official data released last week showed.