The Philippine Star

Sokor rms mull Phl assembly plant for farm mechanizat­ion

- – Louise Maureen Simeon

South Korean manufactur­ing firms are interested in putting up an assembly plant in the country to contribute to the improvemen­t of local farm mechanizat­ion.

Agricultur­e Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said South Korean agricultur­al machinery and equipment manufactur­ers expressed willingnes­s to set up a facility in the country that will assemble tractors and other farm equipment.

Piñol recently attended a convention of about 200 chief executive officers of South Korean agricultur­al machinery corporatio­ns in Cebu.

He said the Korean Agricultur­e Machinery Industry Cooperativ­e (KAMICO) was hoping the Philippine government could allocate an area for the proposed assembly plant.

“I called up the Bases Conversion and Developmen­t Authority to relay the request of KAMICO for an assembly plant area. He immediatel­y assured me of a 50-hectare location within Clark Airbase for the KAMICO assembly plant,” Piñol said.

“By establishi­ng their assembly plant in the Philippine­s, South Korean machinery and equipment manufactur­ers expect a reduction in the prices of farm implements and equipment,” he added.

The Agri chief emphasized that the establishm­ent of an assembly plant in the Philippine­s would translate to more investment­s and more jobs for skilled workers.

Mechanizat­ion is one of the flagship programs being pushed by the Duterte administra­tion for the agricultur­e sector.

The DA has been pushing for a standardiz­ed mechanizat­ion program as the country’s lack of access to efficient farm equipment and facilities has a great effect on the national post-harvest loss level, which averages at 16 percent annually.

This translates to about three million metric tons of rice loss per year.

“With a farm mechanizat­ion level of only 2.1 horsepower per hectare, the Philippine­s lags behind in productivi­ty because of huge post harvest losses of 16.4 percent of total production, mainly in harvesting and milling,” Piñol said.

“Philippine agricultur­e needs about $3 billion over the next five years to be able to make agricultur­e and fisheries in the country efficient and more productive,” he added.

According to the DA, an increase in farm mechanizat­ion could make Filipino farmers as competitiv­e as their counterpar­ts in Thailand and Vietnam.

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