DA 6 Introduces Rice Combine
by James Earl E. Ogatis
Iloilo City – The demonstration of rice combine harvester machine by the Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 at barangays Camambugan, Dingle and Pulut-an, Pototan, Iloilo surprised some 200 farmers recently.
Philrice improved the new rice harvester machine. This makes rice harvesting faster and easier as it performs four tasks simultaneously in one operation.
Engr. Rolly Garganilla of PhilRice said that the improved model of mini rice combine harvester performs cutting, threshing, cleaning and bagging in one operation. Traditionally, these four tasks are being done separately in succession.
He stressed that the new machine reduces the increasing labor requirement for harvesting, gathering, pilling, threshing, cleaning and bagging high-yielding rice varieties. This also enables farmers to harvest their crops on time, reduce post harvest losses, prevents grain deterioration, fissuring, and shattering.
Manuel O. Olanday, regional rice program coordinator believes the demonstration of the rice combine harvester is in line with the farm mechanization program of the department.
Olanday pointed out that only old farmers are left in the farms to do farm labors from land preparation to harvesting and drying. He observed that most of our young people do not express interest to work in the fields.
"It is now time for the Filipino farmers to embrace farm mecha-nization just like Vietnam and Thailand for us to solve the declining farmers population and be competitive," Olanday stressed.
He also encouraged the farmers to strengthen their associations and/or cooperatives especially on rice cluster areas in order to avail one unit of rice combine harvester and to maximize its utilization among their members.
PhilRice has given one unit each rice combine harvester to all DA-regional units for demonstration porpuses. The harvester costs P350,000.00. It is capable to harvest one hectare per day. It is being manufactured locally as it is easy to fabricate and repair.
The new machine only needs an operator and a bagger for its operation which greatly reduces the cost of harvesting. Moreover, it uses only six liters of gasoline to harvest one hectare for its 16-horsepower engine.
Mrs. Liezel Lozada, a rice harvester for 10 years from barangay Pulut-an, Pototan, Iloilo and a mother of five children was worried on the effects of the new machine on their kasanayang livelihood.
Her sentiment is shared by Mr. Leopoldo Francisco, a 70 year old rice harvester of the same barangay saying people might resort to stealing and destroy the machine if given the chance because of hunger.
Rice harvesting is their only means of livelihood and they rely their food supply on this kind of work. They have no land to till themselves.
The DA has already prepared an alternative livelihood plan for the affected rice harvesters if ever this new technology will be adopted in the area. The DA FIELDS program stipulated the department’s commitment on helping marginal farmers and other agricultural stakeholders attain rice sufficiency in 2013 thereby empowering them and molding them to cope with agricultural changes and modernization.
Manggahan Farmers’ Day
Cheers and yells filled the Guimaras Provincial Capitol grounds as some 250 farmers and fisherfolks from the five municipalities competed on various Farmers "Power" Fun Games on April 14, 2009.
Mr. Ronnie L. Morante, head of provincial office for agricultural services said that Farmers "Power" Fun games is organized to develop camaraderie, teamwork and foster good relationship among other farmer-participants from neighboring municipalities.
"This will also serve as break for our farmers from their daily farm routine; for them to enjoy playing power-fun games on Farmer’s Day in connection with the celebration of 16th Manggahan Festival," said Mr. Morante.
Mr. Nelson J. Esteban, agricultural programs coordinating officer for Guimaras said that staging these power-fun games also enhances agricultural technology transfer among farmers due to intense association with each other leading to agricultural information exchange when they will return to their respective municipalities.
The five teams from the five municipalities earned points from various power games such as Flag-pole relay, sack race, boiled egg eating, egg and eggplant relay, longest-body line and going to the market.
And the winners are: first place, municipality of Sibunag-114 points; second, Buenavista-108 points; third, Nueva Valencia-92 points; fourth, San Lorenzo-88 points; and fifth, Jordan-82 points. /MP