• Agriculture machinery roadshow goes South

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    The country’s annual agricultural machinery road shows dubbed Makina Saka 2013 will be held in the Visayas and Mindanao to help drum up more interest among for Filipino farmers to mechanize their operations.

    The Makina Saka 2013 roadshow kicked off last week at the Capitol Grounds in Lingayen.

    “Through Makina Saka 2013, we can drum up more support among farmers to accelerate the mechanization of the country’s farms so the Philippines can attain food self-sufficiency including rice,” said Rex Bingabing, executive director of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).

    The staging of Makina Saka 2013 is timely, because the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Act (AfMech) was signed into law in June by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    “AfMech gives PhilMech the lead role in research, development and extension related to agricultural mechanization, and the agency is optimistic about the prospects of the farm and fisheries sectors’ adoption various types of equipment in the coming years,” Bingabing said.

    It can be recalled that least 2,000 farmers from various farmers’ associations (FA), irrigators’ associations (IA) and agriculture and fishery councils (AFC) all over the country witnessed the Makina Saka 2012 held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City in July 4 to 7 last year.

    This year, the road shows will be replicated in three venues in a series of events for the three major island groups. For Luzon, it was held on September 30 to October 4, 2013, at the Capitol Grounds, Lingayen, Pangasinan. It was attended by irrigators associations, local extension workers, machine enthusiasts and local government units from Regions 1, 2 and 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

    The second of the series will be held at Crown Regency Hotel in Cebu City on October 21 to 25, to be attended by participants from Regions 6, 7 and 8. The last leg of the MakinaSaka2013 will culminate in Cagayan de Oro City on November 11 to 15, 2013 to be attended by representatives from Regions 9, 10, 11,12, Caraga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

    The latest survey of PhilMech showed that the Philippines has a farm mechanization level of 1.23 horspower per hectare, which is a vast improvement over the 0.52 hp/ha during the mid 1990s. Rice and corn farms recorded the highest mechanization level at 2.0 hp/ha.

    Bingabing attributed the increase in the country’s farm mechanization level to interest of farmers in adopting machines in their operations during the last two to three years, and a Department of Agriculture (DA) program where qualified farmer groups shoulder only 15 percent of the acquisition cost of a farm machinery. The remaining 85 percent is shouldered by the DA.

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