The Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with 11 state universities and colleges (SUC) for the dissemination of postharvest equipment and mechanization technologies, as well as educate farmers down to the grassroots level.
Rex Bingabing, DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) executive director, said that the partnership would help in the dissemination of various farm technologies and knowledge to farmers, citing that many SUCs have their own extension offices and even do research and development related to agriculture.
The 11 SCUs include the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Benguet State University, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Pampanga Agriculture College, Camarines Norte State College, Bicol University, Bataan Peninsula State University, Aklan State University, Central Mindanao University, Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture, and Technology, University of Southeastern Philippines.
“SUCs also have capable field extension personnel who can be trained to educate farmers on postharvest and mechanization. Eventually, what PhilMech wants to do is reach out to more farmers and commercialize and disperse mature technologies on postharvest and mechanization,” he said.
PhilMech’s agreement with the SUCs requires developing and enhancing capabilities of a cadre of experts in postharvest and mechanization at the educational institutions; establishment of technology demonstration centers, postharvest and mechanization section at each of the SUC extension service office; and provision of farm and business advisory services to farmers groups, entrepreneurs, processors, traders, millers and other interested stakeholders.
Bingabing said that besides providing education in their respective jurisdictions, SUCs are also mandated to undertake research and development activities in collaboration with various government agencies, and do extension work to help create livelihood down to the grassroots level.
“The extension work usually involves the dispersion of farming technologies, development of entrepreneurial skills, and training programs,” he said, adding that there are also various SUCs that host research centers exclusively devoted to a certain agriculture commodity.
PhilMech’s partnership with the 11 SUCs was an offshoot of a recently concluded seminar workshop on information, technology and training needs assessment on postharvest and mechanization that was held at the PhilMech headquarters at CLSU Compound, Science City of Munoz, NuevaEcija. The seminar was attended by representatives and officials of various SUCs.
Bingabing said that the SUCs will also gain from its partnership with PhilMech since the personnel from the state educational institutions will learn more about farm postharvest and mechanization from the agency.
“It is also very important that students taking up agriculture in SUCs appreciate and learn more about the importance of mechanization and postharvest in modernizing the Philippine agriculture sector,” he said.