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Business

DA, KOICA launch agriculture design prototyping center

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
DA, KOICA launch agriculture design prototyping center
Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture, through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) recently launched the country’s first Agricultural Machinery Design and Prototyping Center (AMDPC), aimed at accelerating farm mechanization in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. led the inauguration of the 2,000-square meter facility located at PhilMech in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

Officials said the construction of the facility is essential to accelerate the country’s mechanization by enhancing PhilMech’s capability to design, develop, and manufacture agricultural machinery and prototypes.

The initiative also seeks to provide farmers with affordable, locally-manufactured machinery, utilizing modern technology to boost production and income.

The facility used cutting-edge prototyping equipment to showcase and disseminate innovative technology that have achieved commercial viability and user acceptance.

“This multi-million US-dollar state-of-the-art facility can revolutionize the way we see agricultural machinery production today. With modern fabrication equipment and top engineering design and simulation software, what more can we not do, what more efficient machines can we not produce?” Laurel said.

The AMDPC is valued at P370.545 million, of which $5.78 million or P289 million is funded by KOICA. The Philippine government shared P81.545 million for the project.

The project is also supported by the Korea Institute for Development Strategy (KDS) and the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO).

Laurel said  the modern facility serves as an avenue for local manufacturers, agricultural engineers, and researchers from various research and development institutions and state colleges and universities to launch their ideas and translate their creative minds to problem-oriented and highly relevant agricultural machines, technology and equipment.

“I can imagine this center as the realization of ideas and a birthing place of solutions to improve the way we farm or fish today through the machines that can be improved and produced in this facility,” Laurel said.

The agriculture chief also expressed gratitude to the Republic of Korea, through KOICA, for its generosity in sharing knowledge, skills, and resources to the Philippines.

“Thank you for building with us a bridge that will help our country move towards the modernization and mechanization of the agriculture sector. We will always value our partnership,” Laurel said.

According to the DA,  the AMDPC is also expected to enhance the institutional networking between the Korean government and DA research agencies.

Laurel was joined by Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines Sang-Hwa Lee., KOICA vice president Yung Young Lee, Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, Congresswoman Mikaela Angela Suansing of District 1, Cong Joseph Gilbert Violago of District 2, and Cong Rosanna Vergara of District 3.

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