AGRICULTURE and food exporters said the level of farm mechanization has much room to improve from its current low base, and added that the outlook for growth in 2019 is positive.
Philippine Food Processors and Exporters, Inc. (Philfoodex) President Roberto C. Amores told reporters in a news conference that he expects “positive growth in 2019 [because] we are improving mechanization. We are only at 1.6 horsepower per hectare. That means [most of the field operations are still] manual,” he added.
“Thailand is three to four times that, Vietnam is something like that. So we have to improve mechanization. Why improve it? Because manual farming needs to become a thing of the past.”
Citing the rice and mango crop, Mr. Amores estimates output growth of 3%, and 10%-15%, respectively. Mr. Amores also said that he is banking on economic integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to further boost the productivity of agribusiness firms via technology transfer and the availability of raw material to upscale the country’s food products.
“It will improve because we will be integrating with ASEAN. We are introducing the technology of other countries to our own agriculture,” he added.
“What we’re trying to work out is how to improve our exports and manufacturing sector by partnering with ASEAN because most of our raw materials are also available in our ASEAN neighbors,” he added.
This year’s Philippine Food Expo, scheduled for April 20-22, will showcase around 300 growers, manufacturers, exporters, and other businesses. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato