President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed a new law modernizing the agriculture and fisheries sector.
Republic Act 10601 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMech) Law, mandates the formulation of a comprehensive national policy on cost-effective and environmentally-safe agriculture and fisheries to achieve food security and increase farmers’ income.
Under the new law, the Department of Agriculture will craft a five-year National Agri-Fishery Program to promote a conducive-environment to the local assembling and manufacturing of equipment for agricultural and fisheries production, processing and marketing.
It also mandates the local government units to undertake applied research, extension, dispersal, management and regulation of agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment, including the collection of fees.
The new law directs the DA to encourage the production of locally-made engines and other machinery for agricultural and fisheries purposes. Incentives will be given to local manufacturers and assemblers of agri-fisheries machinery.
All agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment to be sold in the market must pass testing and evaluation by the Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center.
Owners of these equipment must register with the agriculture offices of municipal and city government units.
The use of renewable and non-conventional energy such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and other farm-based energy sources shall be promoted as power sources for the operation and maintenance of agricultural and fisheries machinery.
The measure also seeks to unify, rationalize and strengthen the implementation, coordination of activities and mechanisms on agricultural and fisheries mechanization programs and projects.
“The Secretary of Agriculture shall include in the DA’s program the implementation of this Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act,” the President said.