5th Makina Expo drumbeats mechanized farming
(by Christine V. Ang 10/5/2017)

“Makinadong pagsasaka” or mechanized farming highlighted the Makina Expo held in Iloilo City last September 7 to 9. The Department of Agriculture led the drumbeating event with more than 2600 farmers from different regions to enhance their awareness on modern agricultural machinery and on new technologies in farming. Sweden Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries, Senator Cynthia A. Villar and DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol graced and opened the three-day exposition. Senator Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, applauded the event as an opportunity for the farmers “to learn how to mechanize (their farms) to be competitive and to increase their income.” She emphasized the need to include the repair and maintenance of farm machinery in farm schools and encouraged the participants particularly the farmers to look at farming as a business venture. She also pointed out that having the agricultural machines is not what matters but how these machines are maintained to continually be functional and useful. “…You’re not just farmers, you are small businessmen and your farms are your small businesses. That’s why you should operate/treat your farm as a business because it’s the only way you will earn,” said Senator Villar. On the other hand, DA Sec. Piñol introduced a more rational mechanization program towards “Makinadong Pagsasaka”. He wants farm workers to be organized into groups and trained to become equipment and machinery operators and service providers. He also discussed the three major components to focus on to help improve agriculture and the lives of the farmers: quality technology, easy access to financing and available market for farmer’s produce. With the Makina Expo he said, "…Our mechanization program should also be rational. It’s not enough to just give (the farmers their needs). That is why we are here today because we would like to introduce to you a new program which we call Makinadong Magsasaka.” Simultaneously at the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC) in Hamungaya, Jaro, machine suppliers/manufacturers demonstrated and showcased their latest agricultural production, postharvest, and processing machines and equipment for crops, livestock and fishery, including irrigation technologies. Technical experts from PHilMech also presented the developments in local riding type rice transplanter, multi-purpose seeder, rice hull gasifier engine pump system, multi-rows onion seeder, cassava digger, and grain probe moisture meter. Lectures concerning the use of cacao wastes for industrial and commercial application, drying technologies for fermented cacao beans and bio-control agents in managing crown-rot disease of bananas were also discussed by PHilMech experts. Meanwhile, some of the participants were given the chance to share their impressions regarding the conduct of the 5th Makina Expo. Dipolog City Agriculturist Engr. Kerr N. Porlas quoted, “We are happy that we’re invited because I think this is the time that we really need to mechanize. This (Makina Expo) is a great example and guide for us in implementing the mechanization program… The challenge now especially for us in the local government unit, is how we will implement this program when we go back to our areas.” Furthermore, 86 exhibitors have joined and showcased their latest and available agri-mechanization and irrigation machinery and equipment both local and international for crops, livestock and fishery.

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