The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has expanded its training of farmer-mechanics who would be ready to provide maintenance services for various agricultural machines owned by farmers and farmer cooperatives.
PhilMech, an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA), has conducted training of farmer-mechanics in the Davao region and Central in cooperation with the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The first training was conducted by PhilMech was in March last year at the Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT), Muñoz Science City, Nueva Ecija.
The DA-Davao Regional Field Office headed the Officer-in-Charge Ricardo Oñate Jr. also helped spearhead the training of beneficiaries of the government’s farm mechanization program in the operations, repair, and maintenance of agricultural machineries.
“We need to develop a core of farmer-mechanic as we intensify our distribution of farm machineries and equipment as wear and tear cannot be avoided. Breakdown of farm machines affects farm operations and productivity and troubleshooting would be very costly,” Oñate told the Philippine Information Agency.
“This is just the first batch, we will have the second batch for the local government of Davao del Norte and we will include farm tractor and other heavy equipment,” he added.
The PhilMech is currently pushing its Mekanikong Magsasaka (Farmer Mechanic) Program to address the need for maintaining various farm machines in the country, most of which are powered by small engines ranging from one-hp electric motors to single-cylinder diesel or gasoline engines.
PhilMech Deputy Director Arnel Ramir Apaga, head of the research and technical operations cluster of the agency, is one of the brains behind the program.
The program aims to produce a pool of technically competent farm technicians who can readily attend to repair, maintenance and troubleshooting issues of small farm engines in remote areas such as those used for small scale irrigation, and tractors, threshers, planters, among others.