ENHANCING FARMERS’ PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH
THE INTRODUCTION OF APPROPRIATE AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION TECHNOLOGY IN SIQUIJOR PROVINCE
In 2013 a Pledge of Commitment was signed by BIOMECH and the local government of the province of Siquijor to formally create the partnership. The collaborative project aims to develop mechanization technology packages for the agricultural production and post-production; extend and popularize these technology packages; and develop the manufacturing capabilities of local manufacturers in the fabrication of selected agricultural machines.
Conducted field tests and demonstrations
Suitability field tests were conducted in the pilot area to determine the actual performance of the recommended machines or technology package. Technology demonstrations were also conducted to create awareness among farmers in the area and to demonstrate the capability of the machines or technology in actual field use. As pointed out by the participants, technology demonstration of the machines is vital in the appreciation of the farm mechanization. Farm mechanization process could be facilitated if end users of machines will be taught how to operate the machines that will help them in different farm operations.
Establishment of pilot sites
Individual farmer and farmer group were identified as cooperators for the establishment of the pilot areas. BIOMECH initially provided the technology on “loan out” basis at a specific term. Trainings on the operation, repair and maintenance of the technology were also provided in collaboration with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. Regular monitoring of farm activities was also conducted. Farmers were made aware of the existing technologies through trainings and IEC materials. Further, farmers gained actual knowledge in the operation and maintenance of existing machines through the machine loan-out activity.
Provided technical assistance to a local manufacturer in Siquijor
One of the tangible results of the collaborative project between BIOMECH and the provincial government of Siquijor is the modification of a corn mill developed by a local fabricator in the province. Mr. Samuel B. Tubal of Bgy Catulayan, San Juan, Siquijor has been manufacturing village-type corn mills for the last 20 years.
Although the mill has a very satisfactory performance compared to other existing corn mills, there were some areas in the corn mill’s design which needs improvement in order to make the machine more acceptable to end users. A collaboration with Mr. Tubal was done to incorporate modifications to the original design of the corn mill. With funds provided by a BAR-funded project of the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP), the modifications were implemented and a new corn mill was fabricated in 2013. The corn mill was named as the Tubal-AMDP-FSTP corn mill in recognition of the support given by the two institutions.
With the technical assistance of BIOMECH (AMDP-UPLB), the corn mill was modified to utilize only one power unit, a 10-hp diesel engine. This re““`sulted to an improved financial viability for the end-user and made the machine suitable in remote barangays where there are no electric power sources. The technical assistance was provided by BIOMECH as part of its mandate to strengthen the capability of local agricultural machinery manufacturers.
Conduct of Training on Fabrication of Agricultural Machinery
The collaborative project between BIOMECH, the Provincial Government of Siquijor and Siquijor State College resulted to three fabrication trainings namely: training on the fabrication of animal drawn planter, UPLB hand tractor and the UPLB two-drum corn sheller. The participants were composed of local manufacturers, faculty and students from Siquijor State College.
The primary purpose of the activity was to establish institutional relationships and technical capabilities, which will lead to development of the local manufacturing industry in the province. Local fabricators were trained on the fabrication of BIOMECH developed technologies and provided with technical assistance to further improve their manufacturing skills.
Also part of the industrial extension activities in the province, BIOMECH together with OPA-Siquijor initiated the establishment of local fabricators/ manufacturers association in the province
Mr. Tubal, a local fabricator in Siquijor is one of the recipients of the different fabrication trainings conducted by BIOMECH in the province. With the trainings he received from BIOMECH, Mr. Samuel Tubal was awarded purchase orders to fabricate UPLB two-drum corn sheller, animal-drawn corn planter and hand jabber for Cebu province. (Engr. Jose D. de Ramos and Engr. Marife R. Santiago)