How can rice farmers lower their cost of production to the target of P5 to P7 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, harvesting and postharvest 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 among farmers but also very important, the service providers who are experts in the different aspects of farm mechanization.
The event was attended by more than 280 farmers and service providers who are owners of different Kutota machinery. Demonstrations were conducted on the use of rice transplanters, combine harvester, conveyor 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 is distributing can be used to level the field, create water impounding reservoirs, and other farm chores. The cage roller fabricated by the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Corporation (CIAMC) can level the field ready for rice planting.
The event also demonstrated the use of a ride-on and walk-behind transplanters for different situations Then there was the demo on 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.
In land preparation, plowing the land with three passes and leveling the same, the charge by the service provider is P5,000 to P6,000 per hectare. The service provider can also produce the seedlings that are also planted by machine for a fee of P7,500 per hectare.
During the Kubota-Saka Thankis Day, lectures and demonstrations were also conducted on preventive maintenance and other basic requirements in farm mechanization.
Farm mechanization is the answer to seasonal labor scarcity needed for planting, weeding and crop protection, harvesting and postharvest handling. Combine harvesters, for instance, can be very useful when the crops are ready for harvest and there is an impending weather disturbance. There are so many other advantages of mechanization. They can cut production cost as well as improve the quality of the products.