Enhancing the agricultural mechanization in CaLaBaRZon

Enhancing the agricultural mechanization in CaLaBaRZon
Los Baños, Laguna – The Agricultural Training Institute Region IV-A, in support to the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMech) Law (R.A. 10601) and as the training arm of the Department of Agriculture (DA), is mandated to effectively carry-out and lead the implementation of AF Mechanization and Engineering Training and Extension Program. 
As stipulated in R.A 10601, the DA shall train the agricultural extension workers and agricultural engineers of the LGUs who in turn shall train the farmers and fisher folks on agricultural and fisheries mechanization, technologies and practices. Thus, the Center conducted the Training Course on Rice Mechanization for Agricultural Engineers (AE).

Why mechanized?
Engr. Janice P. Vargas of Department of Agriculture-Center for Agricultural and Fishery Engineering Division, presented the status of the agricultural mechanization in the Philippines during her lecture in Training Course on Rice Mechanization. She stated that the Philippines ranked one of the lowest levels of agricultural mechanization in Asia, having 1.23 hp/ha (PhilMech, 2011). With the Philippines’ participation in the ASEAN integration, mechanization will boost the production and reduce the losses of harvest. Engr. Vargas also emphasized the importance of mechanization in agriculture: a.) improve land and labor productivity thus increasing cropping intensity, reducing labor requirement and production cost; b.) reduces postharvest loses; c.) allows easier and timely production and postharvest operations; d.) facilitates efficient use of expensive farm inputs; and e.) addresses labor shortage during peak farming operations and its attendant high cost.  
Engr. Niño D. Bengosta and Engr. Joseph D. Corporal of Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), also served as resource speakers on the updates and overview on rice mechanization technologies. Engr. Dindo A. Labrador of Regional Agricultaral Engineering Division of Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office IV-A presented the plans and programs of DA RFO IV-A in 2017. 
Some highlights of the training were the hands-on experience of the participants on different rice machineries in PhilRice and visit in Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC)-UPLB and NIA IV Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Inc (NEMCO) a Farmer Service Provider in Pila, Laguna. 
Twenty (20) AE from Local Government Units (LGUs) of CALABARZON attended the said training to update and enhance their knowledge on commercialized and emerging technologies on rice mechanization and postharvest. The training was held on May 2-5, 2017 at City of Springs Resort, Los Baños, Laguna. 
Edited by: MJaurigue