House approves agricultural and fisheries mechanization development bill

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure promoting agricultural and fisheries mechanization development in the country.

Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (4th District, Batangas), author of House Bill 6548, said the measure shall provide an environment conducive to the local assembly and manufacturing engines, machinery and equipment for agricultural and fishery production, processing and marketing.

Mendoza said the bill will have a great impact on the agriculture sector particularly the agro-industrialization in the countryside and urban migration to rural areas.

“With the increase of farm production and income and emergency of agro-processing and machinery manufacturing, repair and maintenance enterprises, more livelihood and employment opportunities shall be created,” Mendoza said.

The measure mandates the Department of Agriculture (DA) to formulate a 5-year National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program.

The program shall provide leadership in the formulation of guidelines for the registration of ownership of agricultural and fisheries machinery and ensure the formulation of quality, safety, performance standards.

Likewise, the program will formulate and enforce guidelines for the credit program, oversee the implementation of the National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program by the various units of the department and coordinate with other government agencies and local government units (LGUs).

The bill mandates the DA to formulate a unified National Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Research and Development and Extension Agenda (NAFMRDE).

NAFMRDE will address the limited access to appropriate and affordable machinery and equipment, proliferation of substandard agricultural machinery, inadequate extension and promotion program, and inadequate support services and policies necessary for the promotion of agri-fishery mechanization.

Under the bill, production of locally made engines and other machinery for agricultural and fisheries purposes shall be promoted and encouraged by the DA, in partnership with the private sector, and through a joint venture agreement.

Joint ventures in local manufacture, fabrication and assembly of agri-fishery machinery and equipment shall be eligible for loans under the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) under the Program of the DA.

All agricultural and fisheries machinery assemblers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, distributors and dealers are required to provide after-sale service and warranty to their respective clients which shall be monitored by the agriculture offices of the LGUs.

The Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Centers (AMTEC) of the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology (CEAT) of UPLB will be designated as the premier and reference testing center in the country.

Agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment to be sold in the market shall pass first, through testing and evaluation by AMTEC in accordance with the national policies and guidelines to be promulgated by the Secretary.

All owners of agricultural and fishery machinery and equipment must be registered with the Agriculture Offices of Municipal and City Government Units.

The Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards (BAFPS) shall implement accreditation and registration scheme for agriculture and fishery machinery, tools and equipment in coordination with the technology generators, develop standards for agri-fishery machinery, tools and equipment in coordination with accredited testing centers and other concerned government and private entities, and issue permits to operate to agriculture and fishery, tools and equipment manufacturers, fabrications assemblers and importers.

The Agriculture Offices of the Local Government Units shall establish and maintain a registry of agricultural and fishery machinery at the municipal, city and provincial levels. The BAFPS shall maintain a national database of all registered agricultural and fishery machinery which can be accessed through the internet.

The DA, through the BAFPS, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology, Board of Agricultural Engineering of the Professional Regulation Commission and AMTEC, in consultation with the accredited associations of farmers and fisherfolk, agricultural machinery assemblers, manufacturers and distributors and agricultural engineers shall develop standards specifications and test procedures of agricultural and fishery machinery.

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