Sec. Piñol Reports: Philippines-Japan start talks on farm mechanization
PHIL., JAPAN START TALKS ON FARM MECHANIZATION
By Manny Piñol
There are four reasons why the Philippines has not achieved rice sufficiency even after years of much-publicised programs and tens of billions of pesos wasted.
- Poor quality of rice seeds and the refusal of many farmers to shift from their traditional seeds to hybrid. Traditional seeds, even with fertilisation and irrigation, could only produce 3 to 4 metric tons per harvest per hectare while hybrid seeds range from 6 to even 10 metric tons.
- Insufficient water. Rainfed areas could only produce 3 metric tons and are very vulnerable to production failure when there are no rains. Irrigated areas, on the other hand, could produce over 8 metric tons.
- Lack of fertilisers. With the very high cost of fertilisers, farmers tend to under-fertilise their rice farms thus seriously affecting their productivity.
- Huge post harvest losses. The absence of rice harvesters and efficient rice processing facilities account for at least 20% of the post harvest losses.
Harvesting and handling losses alone account for 16% of the post-harvest losses while a modern rice processing facility could recover up to 67% in the milling as compared to only 60 to 62% milling recovery of old mills.
If only post-harvest losses are reduced to at least 8% of the total estimated national rice production of 20 million metric tons, the estimated rice production shortfall of 1.8-million metric tons would already be addressed.
That was when I sought his permission to start exploring for foreign funding which allow the Dept. of Agriculture to procure farm equipment and post harvest facilities to ensure efficient farming and reduce losses.
The first positive development came during the State Visit to China where President Xi Jin Ping assured President Duterte of a $6-B standby lending facility, a huge part of which will go to Philippine agriculture and fisheries.
This was followed by exploratory talks I had with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) during the President's State Visit.
Actually, I already had a meeting with the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhide Ishikawa, months earlier for preliminary talks on an equipment loan for Philippine agriculture.
Yesterday, the Phlippines and Japan moved a step closer to the realisation of the agriculture modernisation program with the formation of a Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) to work on the details of the proposal.
The list and number of equipment and the terms and conditions of the program will be finalised before the expected official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Philippines next year.
There will still be a lot of processes that the proposed program will go through like the approval of the program by President Duterte but we have started the ball rolling.
At the rate things are moving, it will not be long until the Filipino farmers receive the support they need from government to be more productive and to avoid huge post-harvest losses.
The three other issues affecting productivity - seeds, irrigation and fertilisation - will be addressed by the Dept. of Agriculture as it launches Masaganang Ani 6000 on Dec. 29.
#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #MasaganangAni6000!
(Photos show Japanese embassy and JICA officials meeting with DA officials to form the Joint Technical Working Group for the Philippine Agriculture Modernization Program. Other photos downloaded from Google show the farm equipment and post harvest facilities needed by Philippine agriculture.)
Sec. Piñol Reports: Philippines-Japan start talks on farm mechanization Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 9:19:00 AM Rating: