The Department of Agriculture will be pushing for a standardized mechanization program in the hopes of abating postharvest losses in the agriculture sector.
At the opening ceremony of the Makina Expo 2017 at the Iloilo International Convention Center, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol disclosed that the country’s lack of access to efficient farm equipment and facilities has a great effect on the national postharvest loss level.
“Japan has a 16% mechanization rate while our country only has 2% mechanization rate. This is the reason why our post-harvest losses average at 16% in a year,” Piñol said
“If we can lessen the 3 million metric tons (MMT) postharvest loss by at least 6-8% we can achieve rice sufficiency,” the agri secretary added.
The agri chief added that farmers must be provided with practical and high-quality machines.
“If we wish to help farmers increase their productivity and income, let’s give them the best, so we can also change their mindset that what we (the government) give them are useless,” the agri head said.
“Let’s create a mechanized agri-fishery society,” he said.
Piñol added that rice productivity and quality will improve thru mechanization. He also urged farmers to be open to hybridization.
“By simply planting hybrid rice in your farms, you increase your harvest and income. Together, we can improve the national rice productivity,” he announced.
“We don’t even have to expand production areas,” Piñol added.
Put simply, a hybrid rice variety contains the best genes of two parent rice plants, thus resulting to optimum harvest, quality and quantity wise.
With this, the agri secretary committed to market farmers’ produce locally and internationally.
Meanwhile, Senate Committee Chair for Food and Agriculture Senator Cynthia VIllar emphasized that farm schools should also include the repair and maintenance of farm machineries in their curriculum.
“Kailangan marunong din kayo mag-maintain ng mga equipment na ibinibigay sa inyo ng DA,” she said.
Piñol and Villar, together with DA RFO-6 Regional Director Remelyn Recoter opened the 2017 Makina Expo. The event which will run until September 9, convened more than 3,000 participants composed of farmers, local chief executives, as well as local and foreign farm machinery manufacturers.