NSC on AFMech reviewing the agenda of the meeting

In line with PCAF’s effort to enhance private sector participation in the DA budget process, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) presented their Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Plan and Budget Proposals (PBPs) to the National Sectoral Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (NSC on AFMech) on February 22, 2024.

Representatives from national government agencies, private sector organizations, and state universities and colleges, who compose the Committee, attended online via Zoom and onsite at the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries Office in Quezon City to share their insights for the development of the industry.

PhilMech PMITD Chief Kristina Luz Sebastian discussing the agency’s FY 2025 PBP

PhilMech Planning, Management and Information Technology Division Chief Kristina Luz Sebastian shared that the agency’s R&D programs, projects, and activities for FY 2025 focus on agri and fishery mechanization, bioprocess engineering, food protection, socio-economic and policy research, and laboratory analysis research. These are all geared towards increasing efficiency and productivity in using resources, reducing postharvest losses, and adding value to produce through research, development, and extension (RDE).

PhilMech has also allotted budget to support other DA initiatives such as the conduct of rice extension support projects for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, the establishment of shared coconut processing facilities for the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan, and the AFMech RDE Network.

Engr. Crestituto Mangaoang of the Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers suggested the conduct of research that will determine postharvest losses sustained during the transport of commodities.

BAFE Director Ariodear Rico presenting the agency’s FY 2025 PBP

Meanwhile, Director Engr. Ariodear Rico presented the BAFE’s FY 2025 PBP, which concentrates on modernizing agri-fishery production systems, improving postharvest systems and infrastructures, and developing agricultural and fisheries engineering support activities and regulatory programs.

Some of the agency’s major undertakings in 2025 include the localization of the National Agri-Fisheries Mechanization Program 2023-2028 and the National Irrigation Master Plan as well as the implementation of the Agri-Fishery Machinery and Equipment Service Centers in support of the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation Program.

System of Rice Intensification Pilipinas Chief Advocacy Officer Jesus Las Marias proposed the inclusion and development of programs/plans on rainwater harvesting and aquifer characterization and management for efficient and sustainable irrigation.

NSC on AFMech Chairperson Rodolfo Tamayo facilitating the discussion and passing of policy resolution

As a result of the discussion, the NSC on AFMech, led by Chairperson Rodolfo Tamayo, passed a policy resolution endorsing the additional recommendations gathered during the meeting to PhilMech and BAFE for consideration and incorporation in the finalization of their respective FY 2025 PBPs. | Joy Camille Luza