The provincial government intends to buy 10 more rice combine harvesters to fully mechanize rice farming in Negros Occidental and help farmers earn more, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said yesterday.
Marañon said mechanization will reduce field losses by three percent, and pointed out that based on the actual experience of farmers, their losses have reached 10 to 11 percent.
The rice combine harvester that was recently donated by the Department of Agriculture to the province and has been tested in different farms costs P2 million.
The governor, who attended the Makina-Saka 2012 agricultural machinery exposition in Pasay City Thursday, also said that President Benigno Aquino III has announced that he will mechanize agriculture in the country and that the national government will spend about P8 billion.
The national government will pay 85 percent of the cost of the machines and 15 percent will be shouldered by the local proponent, Marañon said.
The governor noted that the Philippines presently has a farm mechanization level of 0.57 horsepower per hectare against a farm mechanization rate of 0.80 hp per hectare in Thailand and Malaysia, and 0.70 hp in Vietnam.
Japan has a farm mechanization rate of 7 hp per hectare and Korea has 4 hp.
Mechanization will reduce the harvest time to one hour per hectare, Marañon said.
When asked about claims that mechanization will cause job losses, Marañon said “I will prove to them that mechanization will help the farmers and laborers make their work easier and lighter, and they will earn more.”
He also slammed those opposing the mechanization of agriculture, saying “they have no facts and figures to prove it”, they are just speaking out of the blue.
“We are feeling the lack of laborers in agriculture because the youth now prefers to work at call centers rather than in farms, and many high school graduates are working in business process outsourcing companies,” Marañon added.*LTG