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Mechanization for Good Crop Harvest in ASEAN
MANILA, Philippines -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries are further welcoming the potentials and opportunities that can be gained through the adoption of mechanization and postharvest technologies on high value crops.
During the Training Course on Mechanization and Postharvest Technology for High Value Crops, 20 Southeast Asian farmers and agricultural extension workers drew up various strategies to help address some issues related to the production of fruits, vegetables, and other high value crops in their respective countries. Some of these issues include the lack of knowledge on certain mechanization and postharvest technologies, high post-harvest losses due to erratic weather during harvest season, and irregular shape and small scale of farms.
Hence, their action points centered on the use of machinery and application of appropriate technologies. The training course also served as an opportunity to showcase agricultural mechanization and postharvest technologies in the Philippines through various resource persons including Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) Director Rex Bingabing, Deputy Director Raul Paz, and other PhilMech officials.
Furthermore, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Director Asterio Saliot discussed various extension methods and approaches in the country and Ken Fujiwara, Adviser of Horticulture and Marketing from the Farming Promotion Department of JA Iwate Hanamaki in Japan, talked about mechanization and postharvest technology for apples.
The participants visited the PhilMech compound in Nueva Ecija for a tour at their facilities and technology demonstrations. They also went to Benguet to visit the Lily of the Valley Organic Farm; ATI Training Center in Cordillera Administrative Region; Benguet State University Food Science Research and Innovation Center; Agricultural Tramline System in Taloy Sur-Bawek, Tuba; Coffee Processing System of the Tuba, Benguet Coffee Growers Association; La Trinidad Trading Post; and Benguet Cold Storage. “Some may argue that mechanizing the processes in agriculture would lessen the opportunities for farmers. On the contrary, it would enhance the value-adding and processing of produce that will eventually add to the income of farmers,” ATI Director Saliot imparted to the training participants.
Project Coordinator Hiroaki Kinoshita and Japan’s First Secretary for Agriculture Kenji Terada both graced the activity and underscored Japan’s continuing commitment to support the food value chain in ASEAN.
Held last April 18-29, the said training is under the second phase of the “Project for Strengthening Capacity Building in Agriculture Sector in Association of Southeast Asian Nations Countries,” or CB Project 2, funded by the Government of Japan, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This project is aimed at enhancing the capabilities of agriculture-related practitioners and officials in ASEAN Member States through training courses, seminar, and dispatch of Japanese experts.