By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star | 12/14/2012 8:47 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is working on a partnership with Japan’s Yazaki Group for increasing farm mechanization in rice cultivation areas in Mindoro.
The joint endeavor would involve the provision of 10 new tractors, 10 new rice harvesters and the rehabilitation of existing rice granaries in Mindoro.
Japan’s Yazaki Group, which is expanding into the agriculture sector, already has presence in the country through Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc. which manufactures automotive parts.
In an interview, Agriculture assistant secretary and national rice program coordinator Dante Delima said the planned mechanization activities are still being studied.
Each unit of tractor and rice harvester would cost around P2 million each. The capital expenditure for the project would include the cost for the rehabilitation of existing rice granaries in Mindoro as well as land preparation activities for increased farm mechanization.
“This will be a big project,” said Delima. “There are rice granaries that have already been identified for rehabilitation, but this is still under feasibility study. We would still determine the capitalization as well as the equity of the DA.”
The DA is targeting to make farm mechanization in the Philippines at par with neighboring countries Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam within five to 10 years.
The Philippines currently has a farm mechanization level of 0.57 horsepower per hectare against a farm mechanization rate of 0.80 hp/ha per in Thailand and Malaysia and 0.70 hp/ha in Vietnam.
Increased farm mechanization, or the use of machinery to ease drudgery and time spent on crop cultivation and maintenance, can significantly shorten land preparation time from one month to only two weeks, and harvest time from a regular coverage of one hectare per day to four hectares per day.
This year, the department has a budget of P2.6 billion for farm machinery subsidies.
Last year, the department released P1 billion; for 2013, it has allocated a budget of P2.4 billion for farm mechanization.