PhilRice is intensifying the efforts on raising the country’s mechanization level through exhibits around the country.
The Rice Machine Gallery, which took off from the MakinaBang exhibit in Legazpi City, Albay during this year’s second quarter, aims to promote the available machines for increasing farm productivity and reducing postproduction losses.
“The gallery, which is housed at PhilRice’s Rice Engineering and Mechanization Division in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija features 26 machines used from land preparation until postharvest. We also display gender-friendly machines and alternative sources of energy such as wind pump, rice hull stove, and gasifier stove,” Dr. Diadem B. Gonzales-Esmero, museum curator said.
Recently, the Department of Agriculture announced that it will push for a standardized mechanization program that will reduce postharvest losses, which averages 16% annually.
The gallery also introduces postproduction machines such as mini-combine, reaper, Maligaya flatbed dryer, micromill, and seed storage facility called Saclob.
Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, deputy executive director for development, said that mechanization can reduce labor cost in harvesting while adoption of labor-saving practices can lead to significant cost savings.
“Labor comprises 37% of the total rice production cost. This is much higher than exporting countries in Asia including China, Vietnam, and India. Filipino farmers spend 65 days per hectare throughout the rice production process. In highly mechanized countries including China and Vietnam, farmers work for 10-35 days per hectare,” Bordey said.
The mobile exhibits on rice machines were showcased in the Association of South East Asian Nations campus tour forum in Nueva Ecija in May and in the Regional Science and Technology Week and S&T Caravan in Candon City, Ilocos Sur, Oct. 3-6. Currently, the exhibit is at PhilRice Batac in Ilocos Norte for the station’s farmers’ field day, Oct. 13.