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Can farming in the uplands and in the hilly and swamp areas be made profitable? The answer could be yes, but how?

Addressing low productivity, scientists and researchers will gather for the 2013 Annual Forum of the Asia Rice Foundation on Nov. 22 to tackle the status, challenges, and opportunities in rice mechanization. Renewable energy and power sources for agriculture machines will also be discussed.

To be held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management in Quezon City, the forum’s output will be used in preparation of the National Agricultural Mechanization Roadmap, which aims to intensify and coordinate national programs for in-country machinery development and manufacture.

Rossana Marie, Louie Amongo, and Maria Victoria Larona of the University of the Philippines, contented in their paper, titled, Mechanizing Philippine Agriculture for Food Sufficiency that environmental-sound agricultural machinery can turn unfavorable areas into good arable lands, thus increasing the areas for food production.

They also said that mechanization can help the Philippine agriculture to fully utilize farm products and by-products, and minimize postharvest losses.

Currently, the country is behind other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China, and Thailand in agricultural mechanization.

“It is hoped that continued government support and interventions, coupled with the appropriate investments on environmentally sound and appropriate agricultural mechanization technologies will improve productivity, income of stakeholders, reduce postharvest losses of rice and corn and other agricultural commodities to achieve food sufficiency,” the researchers said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute