Press Release
September 14, 2014

Villar cites the need for farm mechanization

Senator Cynthia Villar underscored the need for farm mechanization to boost the farming sector especially with the regional economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community next year.

"The use of new and modern machines and technology promote growth and development in the sector," said Villar who led the inauguration of the Intensified Rice-Based Agri-Biosystem Station (IRBAS) in Occidental Mindoro.

IRBAS is the system wherein all components of the rice plant can be used to produce other products.

"I learned IRBAS is capable of giving farmers a gross income of at least 1 million per hectare per year," said Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee.

She noted that the agricultural sector needs new systems for diversification purposes to increase the income of farmers. This can also increase job opportunities by creating farm employment in rice areas. Due to these, Villar said she and Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcara are encouraging farmers and other industry players to mechanize their production processes--from planting to harvesting. She said this would increase efficiency; reduce postharvest losses and lower long-term cost of production. She likewise allayed fears farm mechanization will render jobless farm workers. "We will just make their job easier, hasten the process and improve their income," she stressed

According to the senator, DA has a farm mechanization program and has earmarked P4.16 billion for "agri-fishery machineries, equipment and support services" under the 2014 national expenditure program.

She said such funds are needed because the country's farm mechanization for rice and other crops is lagging behind the other ASEAN countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam.

The DA targets to increase our farm mechanization level to 4 horsepower per hectare from 2.5 hp/ha.

Villar said she is already looking into the slow implementation of Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) which allocates at least P20 billion a year for agriculture modernization-related programs and projects.

Being an entrepreneur, she has been actively promoting agri-entrepreneurship. She strongly believes that entrepreneurial mindset and technological innovation can bring back the glory day of the agriculture sector.

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