The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) has launched a manufacturing inspection program to push for the improvement of the quality of farm machinery produced by the country’s industry, which is mostly made up of small and medium enterprises.
PhilMech Executive Director and Scientist Dr. Dionisio Alvindia said Republic Act No. 10601 or the Act Promoting Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization and Development in the Country, encourages the domestic production of farm and fishery machines with the cooperation of the private sector and through joint ventures.
“RA 10601 also promotes the local manufacture of farm equipment and PhilMech has helped develop the local metal industry that is mostly made up of small and medium scale enterprises in the past seven years since the rationalization of the agency in 2010,” Alvindia said.
“However, there is a need to improve the quality of their products to make sure end-users get ‘value-for-money’ from the farm equipment they invest in or given to them by the government,” he added.
PhilMech has designed numerous farm machines ranging from furnace-fed driers for grains to washers for certain root crops like carrots.
Although the firms licensed by PhilMech to manufacture the machines designed by the agency can follow the design parameters, there are occasions where the fabricator does not use the prescribed materials that result in the production of less durable equipment.
To make sure local manufacturers of farm machines comply with the design and quality standards in the fabrication of PhilMech-designed machines, Alvindia will require the teams that designed the machines to strictly monitor the companies.
PhilMech’s move to improve the quality of the machines fabricated by local firms forms part of its new advocacy called “Stakeholder-driven RDE.” RDE stands for research, development and extension.
“The overall aim of Stakeholder-driven RDE is to develop and commercialize farming technologies that are best suited for small farmers and agriculture cooperatives by getting from them more inputs that will be used by the agency to lead a unified RDE agenda for farm and fisheries mechanization, and postharvest and food processing development,” Alvindia said.