The Department of Agriculture said today farm mechanization, specifically the use of “combined harvesters,” a machine that combines three separate operations comprising harvesting—reaping, threshing and winnowing— into a single process, could be what we need to reach the targeted rice harvest this year of more than 19M metric tons, and eventually achieve rice self-sufficiency.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the department anticipates more typhoons to come in the coming months, and combined harvesters can really make a big difference in the harvest.
Three days before typhoon Glenda made landfall in the Bicol region, Alcala said they informed the provincial directors and ordered them to lend all the available combined harvesters to the farmers and harvest all crops due for harvest.
“Pinagana po nila, 24 hours po, nagpapalitan lang ang mga operator. Imagine kung gaano po karami ang na-save natin na due for harvest. All over the country, over several typhoons, what could be saved could be what we need to be self-sufficient in rice. At ito ay maaaring makamit dahil sa farm mechanization,” Alcala said.
Despite numerous typhoons last year, the Philippines reaped 18.4 M metric tons of rice in 2013, the highest in history, which translates a jump from 82 percent to 96 percent self-sufficiency, he added.
The Secretary said that another benefit of farm mechanization is that it can help in developing “agripreneurs.”
If the DA sees that a farmers’ group or cooperative, the department helps the group to establish its own ricemill, then they are taught how to trade their goods by themselves.
“Farm mechanization is vital not only vital in increasing the farmers’ profits, especially in labor intensive rice production and processing operations, it is also crucial for the Philippines to attain a high degree of agricultural competitiveness,” Alcala said.
The DA is also striving to further improve the level of all capital productivity through farmer adoption and utilization of localized technologies and production techniques, according to Alcala.
Commodity diversification and value adding should be also be catalyzed to achieve competitiveness, he added. (DA-OSEC)
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