With most children of farmers choosing to go to the urban areas to seek work, a shortage in laborers to work in farms is getting more pronounced in some regions of the country.
The choice of some farmers or businessmen is to give up farming or to mechanize. For Edgardo Gonzales, a former technical director of the Department of Agriculture-Ilocos Region (Regional 1), the choice was to mechanize that enabled him to consolidate a total of 150 hectares of corn land.
Benigno Limcumpao, president and chairman of All Certified Equipment Trading Corp. (ACETC), said using farm machines like the Kuhn Planter 3 four-row planter and the Yazaki two-row planter can address the problem of farm labor shortage and improve operations right at the field.
Manual planting of corn seeds after land preparation requires up to 10 laborers who need two to three days to sow 65,000 to 70,000 seeds per hectare. The manual application of fertilizer will take another two to three days also using manual labor. With the Kuhn Planter 3 four-row planter, sowing of seeds and application of fertilizer can be accomplished in 15 hectares in 8 to 12 hours, or one working day. Gonzales, an engineer, uses the Kuhn Planter 3 that allows him to till up to 150 hectares of corn land and offer mechanized planting services to other farmers and cooperatives.
On the other hand, the Yazaki two-row planter from can sow seeds and apply fertilizer at a rate of one hectare in two hours.
Limcumpao said ACETC selects farm machines from companies with proven track record and technology for distribution in the Philippines.
“In terms of quality, ACETC chooses brands that are proven like Kuhn from France and Yazaki from Japan,” he added.
The company also offers the Kuhn Power Harrow that can prepare one hectare of land in eight to 12 hours, compared to two to three days using a hand tractor. The Kuhn Power Harrow and Planter 3 could be used at the same time, reducing the time to prepare land, sow seeds and apply fertilizer.
Limcumpao said that while the Kuhn Planter 3 costs P900,000 and the Yazaki planter P323,000, it allows the planting of up to 70,000 corn seeds in one hectare with a survival rate of 99 percent compared to the 10- to 15-percent mortality rate using manual labor. Also, the use of the machines can allow five croppings of corn in two years compared to just four croppings in two years using manual labor.
ACETC recently demonstrated the Kuhn planter and power harrow, and Yazaki planter before Department of Agriculture officials and farmer cooperatives at Barangay Santo Rosario in Magalang, Pampanga.
The planters and harrows are attached to a four-wheel tractor that are already in wide use in many regions in the Philippines.