MANILA — The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) will establish Regional Technology Management and Demonstration Centers (RTMDCs) that will help spearhead the agency’s efforts to commercialize its technologies and offer training to farmers, who are completely or relatively new to agricultural mechanization.
The regional facilities will also help form more agribusiness enterprises in the rural areas, PHilMech Executive Director Baldwin G. Jallorina said in a press release on Wednesday.
He said the PHilMech-RTMDCs will allow farmers to gain easy access to information and technology services, with the overall aim of commercializing more postharvest and farm mechanization technologies.
“As such, the PHilMech-RTMDCs will serve as a training and learning site, technology demonstration and deployment site, information dissemination hub, and farm and business advisory kiosk,” Jallorina said. “Consequently, it will offer easy access to information and technology services to grassroots clients and local stakeholders for more far-reaching adoption and diffusion of new postharvest and mechanization technologies. The PHilMech-RTMDCs will serve as a linchpin of technology generation and adoption at the regional level.”
Jallorina added that the PHilMech-RTDMCs will also offer business advisory, or will assist clients in the formation of agribusiness enterprises using the postharvest and farm mechanization technologies developed by the agency.
Assisted clients will then be referred to enterprises and institutions that are partners of PHilMech in the development, manufacture, and distribution of its developed technologies for the farming sector.
Aside from standalone or individual technologies, PHilMech has been developing protocols and processes, where technologies produced by the agency and locally-available equipment are tapped for easier adoption by farmers, cooperatives, and agribusiness enterprises.
Among the successful protocols PHilMech has so far developed is for the production of soybean products like tofu and soymilk, using equipment that can be procured locally and started in a small scale, allowing home-based enterprises to adopt the system.
PHilMech will also help foster e-learning through the technology centers, which is part of the agency’s efforts to link farmers to cyberspace and social media.
The agency is already in the process of establishing the centers in Abuyog, Southern Leyte for Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), Tugbok District, Davao City for Region 11 (Davao Region), and Pili, Camarines Sur for Region 5 (Bicol Region).
PHilMech is also in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture regional field offices.
Jallorina said apart from commercializing the agency’s farm technologies and assisting in the formation of agribusiness enterprises, the PHilMech-RTDMCs will also help the agency in getting inputs from farmers, those involved in agribusiness, and agricultural stakeholders on what type of technologies the agency needs to develop for them.
“So we are also creating a feedback mechanism through the PHilMech-RTDMCs, enabling the agency to get information and pulse on what type of agricultural technologies our clients need. This is an essential component of the agency research, development, and extension efforts,” he added.
Besides rice and corn, PHilMech has developed technologies for mango, cassava, coffee, cacao, soybean, vegetables, onions, among others. (PR)