ALL CERTIFIED Equipment Trading Corp. (ACETC), a supplier of farming equipment, said it is targeting more rice-producing provinces to grow the market for its rice combine harvester.

ACETC has been distributing various brands of farming equipment in the past eight years, and is seeking to promote the Massey Ferguson 2168 (MF 2168) Rice Combine Harvester from Massey Ferguson Ltd., based in the US state of Georgia.

“Positively, our goal in the following months is to promote and sell this product nationwide, especially in the major rice producing parts of the country,” ACETC President and Chief Executive Officer Benigno P. Limcumpao said in an email interview.

The MF 2168 was launched in the Philippines in 2017 and sells for P1.5 million per unit. Some 100 units are currently active in the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN), and Caraga.

The company claims that the MF 2168 can harvest and bag palay, or unmilled rice, in an hour, compared to 12–24 hours for a crew of 10 employing traditional manual methods. It said the combine has been optimized for Philippine conditions.

Mr. Limcumpao said mechanization largely explains the gap in production costs between the Philippines and Thailand. He said the Thai production cost is equivalent to P8.86 per kilogram, as opposed to P12.72 for the Philippines. The Thai farm mechanization rate is 4 horsepower per hectare against 2.31 for the Philippines.

“Evidently the level of mechanization greatly contributes in lowering the production cost,” he said.

He said mechanization also increases yields.

“The Philippines averages 16% production losses due to traditional post-harvest operations… Through this machine post-harvest losses due to harvesting will be greatly reduced compared to the conventional or traditional way,” he said.

“Less palay is lost (compared to) manual labor,” he said, because traditional methods expose the grain to heat, dirt and rain,” he said.

The government started this year its bid to improve the farm mechanization through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which has allotted P5 billion for such purpose.

“ACETC has been constantly and actively participating in government public biddings, a move that gives our farmers an opportunity to use quality farming machinery,” Mr. Limcumpao said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang