Learn why it is crucial for the service providers getting into farm mechanization and also the things to do to be at par from other rice-producing country.
By Zac Sarian
How can rice farmers lower their cost of production to the target of ₱5 to ₱7 per kilo of palay? That would make local farmers at par with the farmers of exporting countries like Thailand and Vietnam, which sell their rice to the Philippines.
Farm mechanization can help in a big way, according to Eugene Gabriel, president of a major farm machinery distributor and fabricator in Isabela. He said that total mechanization includes land preparation, seedling production, transplanting, mechanized crop protection, and harvesting and post-harvest handling.
And that is one reason why Gabriel’s company, Agricom, and his major supplier, Kubota, conducted the Kubota-Saka Thanks Day at the Isabela State University very recently to provide updates on farm mechanization not only to farmers but also to service providers.
The event was attended by more than 280 farmers and service providers who are owners of different Kubota machinery. Demonstrations were conducted on the use of rice transplanters, combine harvesters, conveyors for seedling production, and others.
In land preparation, plows and harrows are not the only implements that can facilitate efficient land preparation. Under certain circumstances, even the loader from Korea that Gabriel’s company distributes can be used to level the field, create water impounding reservoirs, and perform other farm chores. The cage roller fabricated by the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Corporation (CIAMC) can level the field ready for rice planting simultaneously with harrowing.
The event also demonstrated the use of ride-on and walk-behind transplanters for different situations. The ride-on transplanter can finish three hectares in one day. When people do the transplanting, about 20 of them are needed to plant one hectare in one day. Then there was the demo of a combine harvester that can harvest three hectares in one day.
The role of farm mechanization service providers is very crucial in the fast adoption of rice mechanization, according to Gabriel. More agri entrepreneurs should realize the money-making potential of rendering farm mechanization services to farm owners.
In land preparation, plowing the land with three passes and leveling the same, the charge by the service provider is ₱5,000 to ₱6,000 per hectare. The service provider can also produce the seedlings that are also planted by machine for a fee of ₱7,500 per hectare.
This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s April 2017 issue.