Thursday, April 27, 2017

ASEAN agri engineers share notes to spur 'modern farms' in PHL conference
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, April 27 —- Agricultural engineers from the Philippines and two other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries are in this city this week for a series of conferences seeking to help enhance the productivity of Filipino farmers so the country can attain food security.

“Always support the implementation of Republic Act 10601 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law,” Dr. Marife Pesino, president of the Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers (PSAE), told participants to the event, that included her counterparts from Indonesia and Malaysia.

She said the law urges the use of modern and cost-effective machineries to prevent among other things “crop losses” in Philippine farms that would ultimately benefit both the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

The week-long gathering spearheaded by PSAE focuses on how “agricultural and biosystems engineers” could become “prime movers in developing and managing appropriate technologies for food security.”

Officers from PSAE chapters nationwide, including PSAE-Bicol, and the Board of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering represented the country in the event while delegates from the Malaysian Society of Agricultural Engineers and Indonesian Society of Agricultural Engineers lent their expertise to the gathering.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal through city public information officer Menjo Ofracio, welcomed delegates to the “four-in-one” event being held at the Legazpi City Convention Center from April 23 to 29.

The four events marked during the gathering are the-- 28th Philippine Agricultural Engineering Week; 67th PSAE annual national convention; 14th international agricultural engineering conference and exhibition; and 3rd Southeast Asian agricultural engineering student chapter annual regional convention.

Rosal commended all the agricultural engineers whom he said have helped the agricultural industry in developing farming methods that are “climate-resilient,” sustainable, safe and environment friendly.

“Through the methods and equipment designed by the agricultural engineers, the agricultural production of our farmers has improved and reduced the crop losses from damaged fields,” he said.

Among the topics discussed in the conferences was “Agricultural Engineering Management and Development Extension Program in Malaysia” by Nurhayati Binti Maarof.

Professor Lilik Sutiarso discussed the “strategy direction on the development of appropriate agricultural and biosystems engineering technology for supporting the food sovereignty program” in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Professor Emeritus Dr. Mikio Umeda talked about “advanced farm mechanization in the Philippines” while Orlando Cablayan explained the “development of appropriate technology in irrigation systems in the Philippines.”

Pesino had emphasized during the conferences that in helping enhance farm productivity in the Philippines, food security will not only be attained but farmers will be assured of an “increase in their incomes.”

Rosal, in an interview, stressed the important role of the agricultural engineers as the “key persons in planning and analyzing agricultural operations.”

He added agricultural engineers develop the methods and design the equipment for land preparation, proper planting and harvesting.

Rosal also reflected on the important role of the conference in terms of promoting a one ASEAN community as the “ASEAN engineers are able to show cooperation” to hasten countryside development among the member countries of the 50-year-old regional organization.

Ambassadors to ASEAN of all 10 ASEAN member countries are currently conducting a series of official meetings that will culminate with the 30th ASEAN Summit on April 29.

They are set to meet anew before the year ends, the Philippines being the chairman of the 2017 ASEAN summit. (PNA)