CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija: A recent study conducted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in Regions 2 and 3 shows that production costs of palay (unmilled rice) can be lowered by more than 28 percent per kilogram.
Conducted in 2014 and 2015 by the Socio-Economic and Policy Research Division of PhilMech, the study showed that the present cost of production at P11 per kilogram can be lowered to P7.87 per kilogram, or at par with some countries in Southeast Asia.
In other Southeast Asian rice producing countries like Thailand it costs P8.73 per kilogram and Vietnam is at P6.07 per kilogram.
PhilMech Executive Director Rex Bingabing said this could be done with mechanical interventions such as transplanters and harvesters. Conducted in Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions it not only reduced production costs but also increased production.
While using a combine harvester, Bingabing said, a farmer can earn an average additional P4,529.55 per hectare because of reduced labor cost and post-harvest losses.
Furthermore, results of the trial on mechanized planting or the use of a mechanical transplanter produced yields of 4.71 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha) compared with the 4.24 mt/ha using the direct seeding method and 3.90 mt/ha for manual transplanting.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO