SINCE the Philippines lags behind its regional neighbors in farm mechanization, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the Senate agriculture and food committee, has underscored the need for this basically agricultural economy of 106 million people to catch up fast.
“Our country started late in our mechanization efforts compared with our Asian neighbors so there is a need for us to have a lot of catching up to do,” Villar told the National Forum on the Implementation of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering & Mechanization Regulations, sponsored by the Professional Regulatory Board of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering & Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers.
She exhorted all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to work together in achieving or reaching mechanization targets.
All efforts, she said, must be geared towards the realization of our collective goal for the agriculture sector and the Philippines, which is an agricultural country.
The senator said the end-result of collaboration and concerted efforts was a response to the mandate of the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law, (AFMech Law) which is needed in the agriculture sector if the Philippinbes must be competitive.
The AFMech Law helps promote the development and adoption of modern, appropriate, cost-effective and environmentally safe agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment to enhance farm productivity and efficiency to achieve food security and increase farmers’ income.
Based on studies, she said two of the barriers confronting farmers, fisherfolks and agricultural workers were the lack of mechanization and technical expertise.
Agricultural and fisheries mechanization refers to the development, adoption, assembly, manufacture and application of appropriate, location-specific and cost-effective agricultural and fisheries machinery.
It uses human, animal, mechanical, electrical, renewable and other non conventional sources of energy for agricultural production and post harvest or postproduction operations consistent with agronomic conditions and for efficient and economic farm and fishery management towards modernization of agriculture and fisheries.
Aside from addressing mechanization, Villar recognized that the training regulations for the agri-fisheries mechanization sector will truly equip the industry players, particularly farmers and fisherfolks, with the valuable skills and know-how or the technical expertise that will really give them competitive edge.
At present, the TRs for the agri-fisheries mechanization sector is being rolled out.
Villar said line-up of TRs is truly impressive as it will equip trainees with relevant and advanced technical knowhow that will truly benefit the industry stakeholders.