BIOMECH Holds National Consultative Workshop on Local Tractor Manufacture and Conservation Agriculture
The Center for Agri-Fisheries and Biosystems Mechanization (BIOMECH) hosted a two-day workshop on January 13-14, 2020 at the CEC Conference Room and the CEAT shop. The workshop, entitled as “Consultative-Workshop on Assembly and Transfer of Technology of an Open System Tractor Design and its Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (CA4SI) Implements in the Philippines” is a multi-organizational activity initiated by BIOMECH as one of its initiatives in response to the recently completed policy study on engine manufacture and the Committee on Manufacturing and Supply of the DA-PCAF-Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Committee.
The workshop was graced by the presence of Mr. Horace Clemmons and Mr. Ronnie Baugh, owners of CleBer LLC, Prof. Manuel Reyes of KSU, Dr. Ted Kornecki of the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (ARS-USDA), Mr. Allan Almendrala of Danfoss, Prof. Moises Dorado of IAE-CEAT, and Dr. Glenn Gregorio Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), who served as resource persons during the workshop. Participants from the manufacturing sectors came from the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association, Inc. (AMMDA), Laguna Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association (LAMMA), and Metalworking Industries Association of the Philippines (MIAP). Unfortunately, the representatives from MAMIA were not able to come due to flight cancellations on account of the eruption of Taal Volcano. Other participants were representatives from Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE), College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology (CEAT), and Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC).
Topics discussed during the workshop were the status of the local machinery manufacturing industry, the open systems design and architecture, conservation agriculture practices, SMART agriculture initiatives in the country, machines developed by USDA for CA and the Oggun tractor, and SEARCA initiatives on innovations and collaboration in agriculture. The main activity of the workshop however, was the actual assembly and test drive of the tractor. The assembly of the Oggun tractor components, was completed in about five and a half hours with about ten (10) CEAT and BIOMECH technicians doing the work.
Five (5) manufacturers, namely RU Foundry and Machine Corporation (Bacolod), Globall Manufacturing (Member of MIAP, Laguna), AGRICOM (Member of AMMDA, Isabela), Machines Systems Corporation (member of MIAP, NCR) and Diestro Engineering (member of LAMMA, Laguna) signified their intention to manufacture the design locally. BIOMECH was assigned by Mr. Clemmons as the local licensee of the design. As such, BIOMECH shall be in charge of overseeing distribution of Oggun Tractor design, as well as monitoring of the progress of the local manufacturers and the quality of the tractor to be fabricated. One of the major agreement in the workshop was the provision of the bill of materials of the Oggun Tractor II to the interested manufacturers for them to come up with price estimates under local pricing. BIOMECH will also pursue R&D work towards fabricating and modifying the Oggun Tractor in cooperation with manufacturers concerned
The idea for the workshop was one of the offshoots of the 2019 visit of Prof. Reyes, who was a former professor of CEAT. Prof. Reyes is a Research Professor and Agro-ecological Engineer in Kansas State University. In his talk with CEAT colleagues, he mentioned that in his line of work he was able to meet a tractor manufacturer who had cooperated with him in utilizing such technology for CA farms and is also cooperating with researchers in developing implements for the said tractor.
CleBer LLC, the company that designs and manufactures the tractor and the ARS-USDA have worked closely with Prof. Reyes. The team has introduced the technology in Asia particularly Cambodia through the works of Prof. Reyes through the activities under the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Laboratory of KSU. The tractor design adopts the “open system design architecture” which is a new design and manufacturing platform in the machinery industry. The open system design is like an open source application where the developer of the design provides the initial blueprint of the technology and allow such technology to further develop according to the needs of the particular country (thinkoggun.com). The tractor named “Oggun” is already being manufactured in several countries.
BIOMECH initiated the activity to jumpstart efforts in the local manufacture of tractors and other agricultural machines as one of the major focus of RA 10601 or the “Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Law” (AFMech Law), which is the general guiding state policy on mechanization of the fisheries and agriculture industry. It is hoped that with the impending manufacture of a local tractor other machines such as combines, planters and other more complex farm machines can be produced locally.
As a parting promise Mr. Clemmons promised to come back to the country to drive the first locally manufactured Oggun tractor. (Engr. Alexis C. del Rosario)