THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has formed a new bureau which will monitor compliance with agricultural machinery standards and collect inspection fees.

The Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) was created through Republic Act 10601 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Law of 2013 to monitor and enforce engineering standards in agricultural and fishery equipment.

The bureau was formerly a division of the DA, and currently has a staff of 13.

BAFE is now compiling a list of all equipment acquired by and donated to the DA.

“We’re starting to look at the [equipment] being distributed in the market now, if they are compliant with the standards,” BAFE Director Cristy Cecilia T. Polido told reporters in Quezon City last week.

The registry will list all equipment that have passed the Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standards and other standards pursuant to the Mechanization Law.

“For instance, we have some equipment from China and Japan but some of them are not compliant with the standards. This will negatively affect the farmers,” she added.

She added: “We need to update our mechanization masterplan,” a blueprint to be drafted upon the completion of the inventory of agri-fishery machinery adopted by all government agencies down to the regional level.

“It’s a work in progress. Hopefully by next year we will complete the inventory,” Ms. Polido said.

The bureau is hoping for the approval of a new staffing level of 64 by the end of the year. – Janina C. Lim