Higher farm mechanization level targeted by end-2017
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has moved to next year its target of four horsepower per hectare (HP/ha) farm mechanization level of the country.

“We still cannot reach it this year, but by end-2017, we can reach that level and even exceed, provided the DA (Department of Agriculture) will give all equipment needed,” PhilMech executive director Dionisio Alvindia.

The previous DA administration under former secretary Proceso Alcala earlier targeted to attain 4 HP/ha level by year-end to be at par with ASEAN neighbors for the regional integration.

The local agricultural industry is currently at 3 HP/ha from the .75 HP/ha status in 2010.

Alvindia said this is also because of the lack of budget allocation for the mechanization sector of the agriculture industry, with a funding of only P300 million next year.

PhilMech said an increase in farm mechanization could make Filipino farmers as competitive as their counterparts in Thailand and Vietnam.

Under the new administration, Alvindia said PhilMech is aiming for new directions as it now focuses on stakeholder-driven research and development.

“Our new advocacy is to develop and commercialize the technologies where stakeholders will be the ones to tell us what they want and need, then we will address their concerns,” he said.

Alvindia said the RDE agenda should result to getting more inputs from the intended users of farm technologies, particularly small farmers and agriculture cooperatives, and to manufacturers of farm equipment complying with the design and quality standards set by PhilMech for all the technologies it is commercializing.

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