Sunday, 8 July 2012

Mechanization key to food sufficiency

By Dexter A. See
An agriculture expert called on authorities to step up mechanization to achieve food sufficiency and help uplift lives in the countryside.
Rex Bingabing, director of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, said the upgrade is also meant to tap markets abroad.
“Compared to neighboring countries, the Philippines is low in agricultural mechanization resulting in low productivity, poor product quality and high postharvest losses,” he told Manila Standard.
In terms of horsepower per hectare, Bingabing said the country’s level of mechanization was 0.52 hp/ha compared to Japan’s 7 hp/ha, China’s 4.1 hp/ha, Vietnam’s 1.56 hp/ha and Thailand’s .7hp/ha.
To feed the growing population that is expected to hit the 100 million mark in 2016, yield must be maximized and loss minimized, he said.
PhilMech, an attached bureau of the Department of Agriculture, aims to provide equipment on an 85/15 percent counterparting scheme between government and irrigators associations along with cooperatives and other farmers’ groups.
“We need to change some of our agricultural practices and technologies to achieve self-sufficiency,” Bingabing said.

Original Article Here

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