The Department of Agriculture has allocated over P4.12 billion for its farm mechanization initiatives in the proposed 2015 budget to help modernize the agriculture industry and improve the country’s agricultural competitiveness.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the amount is part of the P51.7 billion financial programming for the entire department and its attached agencies and corporations.
Alcala said that for the current year, the DA has allotted P4.16 billion for agri-fishery machinery, equipment and support services.
Farm mechanization is part of the DA’s program to modernize agriculture in the country. According to the DA chief, the primary benefit of farm mechanization is lower production cost and postharvest losses compared to manual labor.
With more efficient and productive farming, more will be enticed to engage in agriculture, especially the young, he said.
According to a study conducted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in 2012, the country’s farm mechanization level was only at 2.5 horsepower (hp) for rice fields and 1.23 hp/ha for all crops.
“Target nating mai-angat ito sa 4 hp para sa palay, at 2.3 hp para sa lahat ng pananim [Our target is to raise this to 4 hp for paddy rice and to 2.3 hp for all other crops],” Alcala said.
He added that through PhilMech, several useful machines have already been designed, like harvesters and planters that can be connected to a tractor, eliminating the need to buy a new separate unit.
Among PhilMech’s innovations are: a compact corn mill with a milling capacity of 250 kilograms per hour; 10-row onion planters for higher planting density and direct seeding capacity; cassava diggers for easier harvesting; and coco water pasteurizer for cleaner and faster extraction of coconut water.