Increasing demand for rice remains a challenge to food staple sufficiency but mechanizing farms and minimizing wastage , may well address the challenge.

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Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Increasing demand for rice remains a challenge to food staple sufficiency but mechanizing farms and minimizing wastage , may well address the challenge.

 This was stated by Rodolfo Estigoy, Chief Science Research Specialist of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech), who guested the Department of Agriculture’s press conference, at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Cebu City.

 Emphasizing the National Year of Rice (NYR) goals, Estigoy cited the role of farm mechanization in food staple sufficiency, though there are other factors that could not be ignored in achieving food sufficiency such as favorable weather and the use of certified and hybrid seeds.

 The current farm mechanization program of the Department of Agriculture (DA RFU 7) which grants 85% of the total amount of farm equipments and only 15% is to be shouldered by the farmers’ association of the local government unit, has helped minimize postharvest losses which according to studies is equivalent to 15% of the farmers’ income, Estigoy added.

Expressing optimism that losses can be brought down to 5% through wide adoption of farm mechanization among farmers ,Estigoy, confidently targetted to achieve such goal in 2016.

Based on records at the Regional Agricultural Engineering Group , Bohol is beneficiary of the most number of farm equipments in 2012 , with 51 units of handtractors, 5 units of floating tillers, 20 flatbed dryers, 23 rice threshers and 52 multi-purpose drying pavements.

 Estigoy said that Philmech will be distributing 22 medium multi-crop combine harvester; 42 mini rice combine harvester; 75 pedal-powered rice thresher; 215 power tillers with floating trailers and 750 fertilizer spreader, nationwide, this year.

 Consumer wastage is another   issue that needs to be addressed with national record reaching Php 6.2B annually, enough to feed 2.6 million Filipinos. Adding the problem, is keeping the per capita consumption at 95.21 kg.

 The need for a concerted effort to achieve the goals of the NYR will be achieved if the farmers, consumers and even policymakers at the respective local governments will go hand in hand to disseminate the message of minimizing rice wastage , Grace Dagala of DA RFU 7 , said.