To measure the effects and implications of the agricultural mechanization program on selected commodities, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) commissioned the services of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to conduct an evaluation study on technological advancement in the agriculture and fisheries sector.
The result was presented by SEARCA to PCAF, members of the Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Committee, concerned national government agencies and other stakeholders on May 18, 2018 in Quezon City.
The study was entitled “Intensive Use of Mechanized Technology in the Agriculture Sector; An Evaluation of the Effects and Implications in Selected Commodity Value Chains”, covered the mechanization components of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) commodity-based banner programs from 2011 to 2016 which include production, post-harvest, storage and processing facilities and marketing.
Researchers concentrated on the four major crops nationwide such as rice, corn, cassava and coffee, as it was the DA’s big budgeted programs for the past five years in terms of intervention on mechanization, and the department assisted farmers through the provision of mechanized technologies.
Using scientifically approved sampling method, five regions were identified per commodity that would serve as sampling points for the conduct of the study. There were 95 sampling points per region, based on the number of distributed machineries and equipment, identified by the team using the stratified sampling technique.
For rice program, Regions II, III, IV-B, VI and X were the covered areas of the study while for corn programs, areas identified were Regions I, II, VI, X and XII. For cassava programs, Regions II, V, VII, X and XII were the selected areas and Regions CAR, IV-A, X, XI and CARAGA for coffee programs.
Aside from measuring access of farmers to production and post-harvest mechanization facilities, the study also aims to capture the impact of mechanized technology on the farmers’ self-sufficiency, better farm income and sustainable livelihood.
Above all of these, generating critical policy recommendations in support to the DA’s priority agenda on farm mechanization that can lead to increased productivity and competitiveness was the ultimate goal of the study.
SEARCA, from its official website, is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization in 1966 and currently accommodated by the Philippine government on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. – JD