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Industry Situationer:
« on: April 08, 2008, 10:54:41 AM »
Industry Situationer

Agricultural Engineering: Transformers of modern day agriculture

by Ellaine Grace L. Nagpala

Photos from BAR album
 April-June 2007
Volume 9 Issue No. 2 


Long time ago, when the cropping season for rice arrives, the sight of a carabao pulling a moldboard plow in a rice paddy field becomes a familiar scenario.  Using the carabao as a draft, the farmer patiently guides the animal as it cultivates his field to have it ready for the sowing of rice's seeds.

Assuming that the farmer has a one hectare rice field, with his faithful carabao and plow, he can have his field plowed in an average of 44 hours, harrowed in 36 hours, leveled in 14 hours and side cultivated in 3 hours.

Land preparation is most time-consuming and energy consuming stage in rice production.  But not until the tractor was invented, land preparation required a minimum amount of time and energy.  Using a two-wheel tractor, plowing and harrowing a hectare of land can be finished in an average of 11.3 hours and 8.6 hours, respectively.  A four-wheel tractor meanwhile requires an estimated 5.3 hours for plowing and 3.6 hour for harrowing.

The tractor is one of the first machines devised to assist the farmer perform his job with ease.  In an agricultural country like the Philippines, the role of engineering is vital in mechanizing agricultural production and processing and for the effective management of natural resources.

Philippine agriculture performance
During the first semester of 2007, agriculture grew by 3.50 percent, wherein a sustained increase in the total output of agriculture in the first two quarters of the year was noted.  At current prices, the gross value of agricultural production expanded by 5.19 percent to P466.7 billion from P443.6 billion for the same period last year.

The agriculture sector has a huge livelihood making potential, especially in the areas of production and by-products processing, expansion of areas for cultivation, and intensification and diversification of agricultural production systems.

Impacts of Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineering is manifested mainly on mechanization of farm activities, development of machines for processing agricultural products, and irrigation.  Hence, the introduction of agriculturally engineered technologies that suite the local condition will enable the agriculture sector to fully utilize its products and by-products, cultivate lands on a sustainable production basis, and intensify and diversify farming systems.

This in turn can generate employment, open possible opportunities for the country in the local market, reduce postharvest losses, increase the value of a product through processing, and help bring equity in the access to basic production systems.

Agricultural mechanization status
The level of mechanization in the Philippines, in terms of available mechanical power in the farm is 0.52 hp/ha.

In the country, there are few agricultural commodities whose operations are mechanized:

The sugarcane had the highest degree of mechanization among the major agricultural crops.  Large imported equipment such as four-wheel tractors, plows, semi-automatic planters, cultivators, harvesters, and mills were used making 83 percent of farm operations in sugarcane mechanized.

In rice, land preparation is mechanized through the use of power tiller.  Pumps are widely used to facilitate irrigation.  About 47 percent of rice produced is threshed with the power threshers while 98 percent of the rice farmers bring their palay to rice mills.  There is also practically one knapsack sprayer per farmer.

In corn, only the shelling operation is at high level of mechanization.

For coconut, mechanization has taken place through the presence of oil mills, oil refineries, desiccated coconut plants, activated carbon plants, and oleochemical plants.

In fruits, mechanization for both production and processing is low, and there exists only a few number of processing equipments (hot water tank, sorting and grading machines, chippers/slicers, dryers, evaporators and retorts).

In livestock, the feed milling operation for commercial feed mills is highly mechanized with imported and locally manufactured equipment consisting of forage chopper, hammer mill, mixer and pelletizer.

In general, the level of agricultural mechanization in the country is low as compared to other countries in Asia such as Japan, Korea, China, Pakistan, and India which has a level of mechanization at 7.00, 4.11, 3.88, and 1.02 hp/ha, respectively.

Agricultural Engineering R&D
 Over the years, studies conducted on the design and development of machines were focused on rice production and processing.  Other research and development (R&D) efforts on benchmark surveys, piloting, packaging, and impact evaluation technologies were also limited to rice.  Moreover, there were limited studies on the development of machine standards, development of low-cost construction materials, and development of equipment for energy resources utilization.

To date, Table 1 (see page 6) shows the outstanding accomplishments in the field of agricultural engineering including the local manufacture and distribution of the following: power tiller/ trailer, floating tiller, axial-flow pump, axial-flow thresher, kiskisan rice mill, cono rice mill, crushing type corn sheller, corn mill, grain moisture meter, forage chopper, hammer mill, mixer, and windmill.

Technological breakthroughs were also made in the areas of crop production crop protection, harvesting, drying, milling, shelling, irrigation, and alternative energy.

Despite the presence of institutions that works for the advancement of R&D in agricultural engineering, there is a lack in coordination among these institutions.  As identified by the Committee on Agricultural Mechanization of the National Agriculture and Fishery Council (CAM-NAFC), agricultural engineering R&D should initially address the following problems plaguing its growth: 1) lack of coordination of R&D activities among implementing agencies; 2) insufficient R&D facilities and funds; and 3) absence of extensive assessment of farmers' needs towards identification of viable and appropriate technologies.

Agricultural engineering has been developed without a clear vision of the economic and social impacts of the introduction of the technologies.  In this regard, a comprehensive assessment and identification of the status, resource available, and need of agricultural engineering should be initiated at the national level to come up with a relevant approach to agricultural engineering.

At the moment, there are at three government agencies mandated to fund, coordinate, monitor and evaluate agricultural engineering R&D.  These are the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), and the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research Development (PCIERD).  There are also at least three government agencies and two state universities that implement separate agricultural engineering programs.  These are the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Central Luzon State University (CLSU), and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). These institutions act separately in identifying the gaps in agricultural engineering that must be addressed. This leads to lack of consultation and therefore duplication of studies.

In order to avoid duplication of works and wastage of resources, more coordination is needed with regards to the planning and implementation of agricultural engineering in R&D.  Moreover, massive demonstrations and trainings on the operation of agricultural machinery at the farmers/operator's level must also be done to provide the farmers and operators of the basic know-how's of the technologies that is introduced to them.

The absence of adequate resources and funding is another story that keeps the Philippines behind other Asian countries, not only in the area of mechanization but in the whole field of agricultural engineering.  The poor profitability of agricultural machinery manufacturers in the country due to the high costs of machines, the dumping and smuggling of imported agricultural machineries, and the uncontrolled entry of second-hand engines inhibits the proliferation of agricultural engineering technologies.

Desired industry situation
It is said that the agricultural engineering is a prerequisite to and a partner of industrialization.  Industrialized countries have shown that regardless of socio-economic, cultural, and environmental settings, the evolutionary patterns to their industrial development can be traced down to agricultural engineering.

In the Agricultural Engineering RDE Agenda of BAR, the motivation to promote agricultural engineering in the country is clearly expressed and emphasized and the following were deemed necessary to be considered for its fulfillment:

Implementation of a National Agriculture Engineering Program
Though the role of agricultural engineering in agricultural development is evident, there has not been any concrete set of policies that details how agricultural engineering should be pursued and applied.

Adoption of machinery pools as farmers' access to agricultural production machinery
Machines are too costly for the small farmers to afford.  Moreover, because of small landholdings, the individual ownership of motorized machines is not viable.  Through pooling machineries through cooperatives and custom-hire arrangements with private entrepreneurs, it would be easier for the farmers to access the machines that they need provided that their farms are integrated. These schemes are being implemented successfully in countries with small landholding such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Establishment of rural-based processing plants for generating employment,
livelihood and additional income to farmers
The reduction of postharvest losses through primary processing is viewed as ways to increase a farmer's income at the same time generate employment and livelihood in the rural sector.  These is possible through local adoptation or development of processing machines and facilities.

Joint-venture arrangements for the local manufacture of critical machines and machine parts.  Through this approach, foreign manufacturers and local manufacturers can set up joint venture arrangements to set up manufacturing and assembly plants in the county.

RDE agenda and programs
When the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) or the Republic Act No. 8435 was proposed, it was aimed to take immediate actions that will pursue the modernization of agriculture and fisheries sectors of the country to enhance their profitability and prepare the said sectors for globalization.  As a part of the agriculture and fisheries sector, the development and promotion of appropriate agricultural machinery and other agricultural mechanization technologies to enhance agricultural mechanization in the countryside was given emphasis.

Developed breakthrough technologies in agricultural engineering through Research and Development (R&D)
Source: Agricultural Engineering RDE Agenda and Program
Consequently, the Department of Agriculture (DA) implemented the National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program (AgFiMech) and created the National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program Committee (CAFMech), which is the central link for coordinated planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all agricultural engineering programs, projects and activities of DA.

To be able to achieve the desired industry situation for agricultural engineering, the following were identified to be the main agenda for agricultural engineering as stipulated in the Agricultural Engineering RDE Agenda:

Strengthen the Agricultural Engineering RDE Network to tap the active participation of research institutions and the private sector;
Conduct benchmark and needs surveys, policy and feasibility studies, and impact evaluation of the Mechanization Plan;
Adapt available matured technologies from developed/developing countries to the country's own institutions/industry;
Develop medium- to large-scale and energy-efficient technologies for machinery pools and village-level processing plants;
Develop technical standards to help ensure the quality of agricultural engineering technologies;
Pilot and package agricultural engineering technologies;
Conduct training on agricultural engineering technologies for engineers, technicians, extension workers and farmers; and
Establish a centralized information service for agricultural engineering statistics and development.
The Ag Eng RDE Agenda and Programs was developed to promote appropriate agricultural engineering technologies in the countryside for enhancing agricultural productivity and agro-industrial development.

The RDE program, in general, is geared to provide accurate and timely information in support of the Agricultural Engineering Development Plan, to make available appropriate agricultural engineering technologies for the production and processing of farm products and by-products, and to develop trained manpower for the generation, manufacture and utilization of agricultural engineering technologies.

National Agricultural Engineering Research, Development and Extension Agenda
National Agricultural Engineering Research, Development and Extension Program
Maranan, Celerina L.  Comparative Evaluation of Tractor and Carabao Use in Rice Land Preparation.        Journal of Philippine Development.  1980.
Status of Agricultural Mechanization in the Philippines.  Agricultural Machinery.



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Re: Industry Situationer:
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 10:40:54 AM »
City vet says consumers eating more chicken than pork

Cebu Daily News
First Posted 12:37:00 04/09/2008

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Are consumers shifting from pork to chicken and goat meat?

Dr. Alice Utlang, Cebu City veterinarian, said Tuesday that data from the animals slaughtered at the Cebu City abattoir would indicate the shift of customers to goat and chicken meat.

She said that in the first quarter of the year, the number of slaughtered chicken reached 175,711 compared to last year's 52,908.

Goat slaughtered at the abattoir also increased from January to March this year from 6,357 to 9,185.

Less hogs were slaughtered at the abattoir in the same period this year with 21,277 hogs compared to last year's 25,446 hogs.

Utlang said lechon (roasted pig) dealers told her that most of their hog suppliers shifted some of their supply to Manila, which is experiencing a scarcity of pork after hog farms in Bulacan, the biggest supplier of hogs in Metro Manila, were affected by hog cholera.

The dealers said these could have caused the prices of pork to go up.

A kilo of pork now costs P140 to P150.

Utlang said that Cebu is importing hogs from other provinces, such as Siquijor, Bohol, Masbate, Negros, and Mindanao, because piggery farms here could not cope with the demand.

Camotes and Mantalungon and Barili towns in supply hogs in Cebu.

Utlang, however, expects the supply of hogs to increase next month once the enrollment of classes starts.

"The hog farmers are still not selling their hogs to make it bigger so that they sell it for a higher price. The money of the sales will be used for their children's enrollment," Utlang said in Cebuano.

In Mandaue City, Market Administrator Rene Gascon, head of the price monitoring team, said that price of pork increased from P10 to P15.

When checked with the Mandaue Market on Tuesday, prices for a kilo of pork belly and pork chops were pegged at P150 compared to P140 last month. Pork thigh is priced at P120 per kilo compared to P100 per kilo in the previous months.

Gascon said that the rise of pork prices was gradual for a period of two months.

A meat vendor said that the prices of pork started to go up at around the end of January.

Gascon said that they have already started putting up of price billboards yesterday for rice and corn indicating the lowest price so that the consumers and the vendors will be warned of any unjustifiable price schemes from some stalls.

“For example, if we put the price of pork at P150 at the billboard, the consumers can complain to us if they see unreasonable prices higher than the ones we posted (which is the lowest price available),” Gascon said. “We, however, cannot stop or control the rise of prices because it (prices and costs) is not for us to determine.” /Correspondent Chris A. Ligan with a report from Reporter Dale G. Israel



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Re: Industry Situationer:
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2008, 11:54:42 AM »
Featured Institution

BPRE: Leading agriculture modernization through postproduction mechanization and development

by Ma. Eloisa E. Hernandez
 April-June 2007
Volume 9 Issue No. 2 


Postharvest is a recurring thing, if you neglect to promote good philosophy or good practices, they will return to where they were,” said BPRE Executive Director Ricardo L. Cachuela, during an interview in his office.

He started at BPRE as a casual engineer with a meager Php 34.00 daily wage.  From the different positions he undertook, he has worked his way up into the ladder to become its current head, sharing its humble beginnings and current accomplishments and successes.

In the early 70's, the National Food Authority (NFA) faced problems with its postharvest losses in rice and corn reaching to about 37%.  This prompted the creation of a subsidiary institution, known as the National Postharvest Institute for Research and Extension (NAPHIRE) that spearheaded the development of the country's postharvest industry.

In 1980, the agency's functions included other agricultural commodities aside from rice and corn.

It was in 1986, the that NAPHIRE became an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and another six year counted when it was renamed to the now, Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension or BPRE.

“Efficient, sustainable and globally competitive agriculture and fishery sectors which will propel the country in becoming a food basket in East Asia.” This says it all as the overarching vision of BPRE. Their goal stands up in reducing postharvest losses, maintaining quality and increasing the value of agricultural and fishery products.  The bureau works on enabling the smallholders and various stakeholders in the industry to engage in profitable postharvest ventures.

Guided by its mandate, BPRE generates, extends and commercialize appropriate and problem-oriented postproduction technologies and practices that can contribute to loss reduction, food and feed quality improvement and maximizing the benefits gained by stakeholders.

Exec. Dir. Ricardo L. Cachuela.
The Executive Director as being assisted by a Deputy Executive Director, handles six departments responsible on planning and evaluation, finance and administrative, training and extension, postharvest engineering, food protection, and postharvest systems.  The last three departments are responsible for the research and development activities of the bureau.

BPRE's research development & extension (RD&E) programs gear toward four 4) major agenda, namely: 1) efficient drying and dehydration for increased farm productivity; 2) appropriate handling, storage and processing techniques for increased food value; 3) preventing and controling mycotoxin, pests and diseases toward food preservation;(4) empowering stakeholders toward profitable entrepreneurship.

Significant breakthroughs
First agenda on drying and dehydration facilities to increase farm productivity, BPRE has able to developed and designed a grain moisture meter, mobile flash dryer, in-store dryer, and a multi-commodity solar tunnel dryer (MCSTD).  The Grain moisture meter makes accurate moisture content and price levels of palay and corn grains.  About 18% of the moisture content can also be reduced by utilizing the mobile flash dryer.  MCSTD, on the other hand is considered better to that of traditional sun drying method.  It has a shorter drying time with lower microbial load and cleaner appearance of the dried products.

Recent focal years of BPRE focus on the priority thrusts that enable the sector to efficiently and effectively utilize improved postharvest technologies and mechanized farming.  These can be seen as a significant move for the fulfillment of a modernized and improved production of the agriculture sector.

One of the major programs of the Bureau now is on the National Tramline Program.  An agricultural Tramline System (TLS) has been inaugurated at the Alimodian, Iloilo.  TLS is a system of cable lines used for hauling agricultural products.

In 1994, BPRE has instituted the Philippine National Cold Chain Program.  Now, it has been intensified covering five four major trade routes for high value crops in the country to high-end markets in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Davao City.  The cold chain system was developed to answer problems of farmers and traders on preserving the quality and freshness of the produced high-value crops particularly during transport and storage.

BPRE has also established Technology Demonstration Centers to enable and prepare farmers, processors, and small entrepreneurs to engage in postharvest handling and processing of high value crops.  Now, there have been 10 TDCs nationwide focusing on different commodities popular in the regions.  Mango and rice for the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija as to durian and mangosteen for Jolo, Sulu.

This also led to strengthening linkages and coordination among various postharvest sectors.  Other than the DA family, BPRE was able to gain collaboration with the other government agencies, state, colleges and universities (SCUs), and private sectors.

Notable accomplishments endeavors
Dir. Cachuela is pleased to say that the Bureau already has its own facility continuously promoting mechanical drying for rice and corn and other postharvest processes.  “The development of machineries and technologies is a continuing tool,” Dir. Cachuela added.  After a cycle of research and commercialization of technologies, BPRE changed its strategy with tie ups with manufactures particularly in production areas in the country.

Since some of the developed technologies are not readily acceptable to farmers, BPRE increased their capacity by establishing linkages with cooperatives.  Working and dealing with them were called the Cluster approach, previously known as the farmers service center serving as a centralized system for postharvest services.  “We don't rely on cooperatives alone but now we rely on groups of farmers who are now clustered by at least 100 hectares since these are easier to manage using farmers' skills effectively,” Dir. Cachuela explained.

Trainings were also facilitated under the RD and extension component. Other components include the provision of software, building up capabilities, preparation of information materials and multi-media.

Even if BPRE has no regional office, they select key pilot areas that will make the most impact.  From the sites selected, practices emerge following correct procedures and application the results of commercialization.  Sample pilot areas are Mindanao and Central Luzon for corn and rice, respectively.  Through a Master Plan, the involvement of the local government units (LGUs) is recognized.  This distinguishes the geographic advantage of the provinces which likewise determine the strengths and weaknesses of the area.  Regional agricultural engineers, economists, biologists, as well as the private sectors are also tapped.

BPRE has been able to foster collaboration and strengthened linkages with other government agencies, farmer cooperatives, SCUs, LGUs and private sectors. This made the achievement of its goals possible.  With BPRE's goal to reduce postharvest losses through the years, a significant reduction has been noted as a result of numerous postharvest technologies and interventions. With its array of accomplishments and major breakthroughs, BPRE would pave the way in assisting the Department in its quest for a diversified agriculture sector.  And now, BPRE is lucky to have a Director who has a big heart and passion for his work, sharing big ideas not only for the Bureau and for the country as a whole.



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Re: Industry Situationer:
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2008, 10:28:05 PM »
as of March 14, 2008

Pork Commodity Average Change
Lomo            174.13 0.0141%
Pigue 161.71 0.0255%
Kasim 161.71 0.0255%
Liempo 168.54 0.0182%
Porkchop 161.71 0.0255%
Pitso 161.71 0.0255%
Pata (Front)  125.88 0.0036%
Pata (Back)  119.63 0.0133%
Batok 124.83 0.0045%
Paikot 124.63 0.0009%
Buntot 124.88 0.0020%
Taba 73.29 0.0005%
Empella 57.29 0.0000%
Ulo 82.88 0.0000%
Tadyang 125.79 0.0023%
Live Weight  104.38 0.0701%
Dress Weight 131.49 0.0212%

*source: Marketing Development Division, BAI, QC

Particulars Average Change
Prime Hog  106.22 0.0078%
Commercial Grade  95.00 -
Culled Sow  79.93 0.0440%
Culled Boar  72.00 -
Culled Gilts  100.00 -

Feed Ingredients  Average Change
Yellow Corn  13.15 0.0492%
Soya 23.30 0.0030%
Feed Wheat - -
Copra Cake 6.10 -
Rice Bran  9.10 0.1648%
Fish Meal - -
Pollard 9.00 0.0555%
Coco Oil  62.20 -

Prices expensive now,reports of rice selling for P40.00 per kilo,cracked yellow corn for livestock at P20.00 per kilo.


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