Philippines needs more farm machinery to catch up with neighbors—DA chief


Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala: Targets 0.8 ha/hectare farm mechanization

MANILA, Philippines—To keep pace with rice-exporting countries like Thailand and Vietnam, the Philippines must raise the rate of mechanization in its farms to .8 horsepower per hectare from the current .57 hp/ha, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Tuesday said the DA has allotted P6 billion to increase the use of machinery and other farm equipment in Philippine farms.

“Our target in the medium term is to increase the current farm mechanization level at 0.57 horsepower per hectare (hp/ha) to 0.8 hp/ha,” he said.

The amount is used to buy various farm production and post-harvest machinery and equipment that the DA provides to qualified irrigators’ associations, farmers’ groups and local government units. The DA shoulders up to 85 percent of the equipment cost, while the remaining 15 percent serves as the equity or local counterpart of the beneficiaries.

“We want to provide the environment that would encourage the private sector to invest in the country’s farm machinery industry. We plan to reach a farm mechanization level of 0.8 hp/ha, similar to that of Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia,” said Undersecretary Joel Rudinas.

Thailand and Vietnam are both rice-exporting countries. The Philippines, which imports rice to feed its growing population, eyes to join their club by 2014.

Rudinas said other developed countries like Japan and South Korea are already highly mechanized, at 7 hp/ha and 4 hp/ha, respectively.

This year, with a P2.6-billion budget, the DA targets to provide IAs, other farmers’ groups, LGUs with more than 7,000 units of various farm machinery and equipment.

Agriculture officials said Filipino farmers are reluctant to use machineries for fear that it would displace laborers. Officials also noted that Filipino farmers do not have the capital to invest in harvest and post-harvest equipment.

Filipino farmers, DA said, are one of the least mechanized in Southeast Asia. Officials said a high level of mechanization in agriculture leads to greater yield and better income for farmers.

Assistant Secretary Dante Delima said, “We do not intend to displace any farm labor. Instead, we aim to increase farm labor productivity.

“More importantly, with the use of farm machinery, farmers could prepare their land at the same time and adopt a synchronized rice-planting schedule. This practice would enable farmers to monitor and effectively control crop pests, and subsequently minimize production losses,” he added.

The production and post-harvest machinery and equipment that the DA will buy for this year include rice drum seeders, transplanters, power tillers with trailers, mini-four-wheel tractors, hand tractors, floating tillers, reapers, seed cleaners, rice cutters, threshers, combine harvesters, collapsible dryers, hermetic cocoons, laminated sacks, flatbed and mechanical dryers, multi-purpose drying pavements or solar dryers, including construction of palay sheds, warehouses, rice mills and processing facilities.

Alcala also called on the private sector to invest in agricultural facilities like dryers, mills and silos. As part of its efforts to entice private-sector investment in agriculture, the DA is spearheading Makina-Saka 2012 or the 2nd Agri Machinery Roadshow on July 4-7, 2012, at the World Trade Center, in Pasay City.

Makina-Saka 2012 also features conferences and workshops of the country’s Irrigators’ Associations, Small Water Impounding Systems Associations, other farmers’ groups and associations, and Agricultural and Fishery Councils.

President Aquino has been invited as guest of honor and speaker on July 5. Alcala and farmers’ groups will present the Food Staples Sufficiency Program policy document to the President.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • J

    Most farmers doesn’t own the farms they till and most of them farms just about a hectare. The palay price has been and always under the control of the govt. The middle men makes most of the profit of the rice trade. These middle men controls a lot of farmers by lending them money so they can secure to buy the palay from them. Farmers must be empowered instead of being used by the govt and the middle men.

  • Audy J Reginalde

    Proceso simple lang ang problema sa palay bilhin ng gobyerno ang produksiyon ng magsasaka para di binabarat ng mga middlemen… yun lang imulat mo ang mata mo lolo yan ang i proceso mo

  • von_ami

    The Philippine has the expertise and technology to
    develop high yielding rice seed varieties. Our very own PhilRice has the
    mandates to do Research and Development (R&D) and to improved Philippine
    rice seed yields from the current 80 cavans to at least 100-120 cavans per
    hectare. The government should allocates and give more funds to PhliRIce for
    its R&D program; develop appropriate agricultural policies and establish
    the needed support mechanism and infrastructures e.g. facilities, farm and
    non-farm infrastructures, and networks (farmer to farmers and farmers to
    markets) – all aiming to support agriculture productivity in the country.
    The Philippine has the potential and it can position itself in ASIA to
    top as high yielding rice seed providers. What the government can do do is to
    set its priorities in line. The Philippine can do more – boost its rice
    production for domestic or local consumption; and aim to increase the
    high yielding rice seed productions for exports to rice producing/exporting
    countries in ASIA.

  • Fred Santos

    This is the right approach to increase food production in the Philippines. It is an Agricultural country and they need to make it fully mechanized to cope up with the growing population, keep the prices affordable, and have some excess for exports. Full mechanization with modern technologies and irrigation would greatly expand food production to feed the hungry Filipinos. The next best thing to do is to improve or expand the Railway system from Appari to Jolo to facilitate faster, cheaper and easier transport of goods and people. It will increase commerce throughout the country and railway is still one of the safest transportation of produce, wet or dry, large or small, and people.

  • aspirin200

    I hope that the DA will purchase local but high quality farm equipment particularly dyers and rice mills. There are already very good Filipino post-harvest products in the market and local manufacturers will continue to improve their products with government support and patronage. We’ve been relying far too long on imported machinery, many of which are not properly configured to local conditions. The past administrations’ bias for imported products had stunted the development of homegrown technologies.

    Mechanical dryers particularly fluidized bed, LSU (Louisiana State University) batch continuous design are patent free and had been manufactured locally in good numbers and had proven to be efficient, reliable and cost effective. These designs are now coupled to locally manufactured biomass furnaces. The biggest locally manufactured installation is in Mindoro that has a capacity of 30 tons per hour. There are also similar installations in Isabela, South Cotabato, Zamboanga, Molave, Negros, etc.

  • mangpepe

    sino ba itong bagong sec.of agriculture mukhang alam ang ang ginagawa, mechanization ang isa sa mga solusyon sa pag-angat ng food production, PROPER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAM, SELECTION OF FARM EQUIPMENT ETC. ETC. ETC

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