Close to 50 Bicol delegates composed of selected farmers ,RAFC representatives, officers and members of Irrigators Associations, local manufacturers, local product exhibitors & DA officials and staff  actively took part in the Makina Saka Expo 2017 held at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City  on September 7-9, 2017.

“With the theme “Aangat ang Pagsasaka sa Paggamit ng Tamang Makinarya” DA Secretary Manny Piñol appealed  to Filipino farmers to  change their mind-set. “Mababa masyado ang ating mechanization” with  only 2% rate  resulting to  post- harvest losses. Mechanization is the key not only for survival in the Agri sector but an  indication in liberating farmers thru introduction of farm machineries and technologies he said. “Kailangan ang magsasaka, makinado”. It’s now time to boost our Mechanization Program giving the best equipment to our farmers. He also promoted the use of Hybrid Rice. “Don’t be afraid of Hybrid and Golden Rice”, its production technology is simple  and  one way of improving rice production he added.

 Meanwhile, in her message, Senator  Cynthia Villar enjoined everyone to cooperate in order to curb the poor situation of farmers and Fishermen  in the country. The reasons why our farmers are the poorest because of lack of technology, mechanization, finances/business and access to cheap credit. “kaya tayo nandito, magaaral tayo ng pag mechanismo para tayo maging competitive “ she said.

The Bicol delegation was headed by Dr. Elena B. de los Santos, Regional Executive Director and Rodel Tornilla, OIC Regional Technical Director for Operations.

Attended by more than 2,500 participants from different regions, the event was also  joined by  Arthur Defensor, Sr, Governor, Iloilo province, Jed Patrick Mabilog, City Mayor, Leo Rafael Cueva, Congressman, House of Representatives, and Harald Fries, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden in the Philippines.

Succeeding days were spent on Techno Fora and actual demonstration of various farm machineries from land preparation to post harvest technology. Partnering with the Philippine Center for  Post Harvest Development (PhilMech) the authorized fabricator of agricultural machineries,  some  participating  exhibitors were: Yanmar, Kubota, Century Ventures, Aims Agriventure,Massey Ferguson, Korea Agricultural Machineries, embassy of Sweden, Netherlands and Japan  (JICA). (B. Nunez)