Don’t look now, but a new service center could modernize rice farming in Oriental Mindoro, thanks to a new company set up by the Yazaki Torres Group headquartered in Batangas.

By Zac B. Sarian

The new company is the Agri-Tech Integrated Services Corporation (ATISCO), which inaugurated its rice processing and integrated farm servicing center in Calapan City on February 12.

The company commits itself to provide the best farm mechanization services from land preparation to postharvest operations, according to ATISCO president Roger T. Perez.

ATISCO is offering a rice contract growing scheme in which it can undertake land preparation, growing the seedlings of superior rice varieties, and planting the seedlings with a mechanical transplanter.

The rice transplanter can finish the job on one hectare in just a matter of a few hours with uniform distancing.

The company also maintains its own technicians to assist farmers in managing their crops by teaching them technologies like proper irrigation, fertilization, and pest and disease control.

When it is time to harvest, the company will provide a harvesting machine that automatically threshes the grains. The company also has its own drying and milling facilities. Thus, the farmer is assured of quality grains that are harvested on time and dried to the desired moisture content.

The grains are also milled by the company, and the milled rice can be bought by ATISCO if the farmer so desires. ATISCO will buy the rice at a competitive price so that the farmer does not have to look for outside buyers.

Most farmers don’t have enough capital to finance their farming. Well and good that ATISCO can advance their cash expenses, payable after harvest. In case of crop failure, what happens? ATISCO will have the crop insured to make sure the farmers can pay the cost of services advanced by ATISCO.

Dante Delima, who used to be with the Department of Agriculture, is the project’s consultant. He said that no less than 200 hectares are targeted for contract growing in the coming crop season.

The rice that will be produced will be used for the consumption of the Yazaki-Torres employees who number 14,000 in its Sto. Tomas (Batangas) headquarters, with another 8,000 in Cavite. The portion that will not be consumed by the employees will be sold through the mother company’s supermarket.

Not all the rice production operations may be undertaken by ATISCO. Some farmers may just choose to avail themselves of the drying and milling services of ATISCO, for instance. Or it could be just the land preparation and growing and transplanting the seedlings that will be performed by the company.

With the mechanized operations in rice farming, bigger areas could be devoted to the grain crop in Oriental Mindoro. And this can significantly augment local rice production so that the country can reduce its rice imports and conserve precious dollars in the process.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s March 2015 issue.