Awareness: Boosting Agri-Fishery Mechanization in Philippines

Republic Act (RA) 10601, the "Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMech) Law," was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 5, 2013, to encourage farmers and fisherfolk to use modern, cost-effective, and environment-friendly equipment as well as adopt new post-harvest technologies to enhance productivity. The law, a consolidation of Senate Bill 338 and House Bill 6548, was approved during the bicameral conference on March 16, 2013.

Republic Act 10601 mandates the crafting of a National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to promote an environment conducive to local assembling and manufacturing of equipment for agricultural and fisheries production, processing, and marketing. The program will include research grants, credit, regulation, and local development and manufacture of machinery. It will set quality, safety, and performance standards as well as guidelines for registering ownership of machinery. Agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment will be tested and evaluated by government, with owners registering them with the agriculture offices of local government units.

The DA's Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is distributing more farm machinery this year to support the goal of rice self-sufficiency. A study showed that investment in farm mechanization through public-private partnership would help raise the local farm mechanization level this year, and allow the country to catch up with neighbors in Southeast Asia by 2016.

PhilMech is tying up with state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the dissemination of farm postharvest and mechanization technologies and knowledge to the grassroots level. Many SUCs have extension offices and do agriculture-related research and development. Their field extension personnel are trained to educate farmers on postharvest and mechanization.

We congratulate H.E., President Benigno S. Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Acting Senate President Jinggoy P. Estrada, House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr., Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, and other Officers, in their crafting of legislations such as Republic Act 10601 that will boost Philippine agriculture mechanization through farmers and fisherfolk's use of modern, cost-effective and environmentally safe machinery and equipment in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

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