By Madelaine B. Miraflor
A 50-hectare location within Clark economic zone will be allotted to a group of South Korean companies who intend to set up a facility that will assemble agriculture machinery and equipment.
That’s according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who said the rationale behind the plan is for these firms “to cash in on the farm mechanization program of the Philippine government”.
As Piñol sees the plan benefitting local farmers by having an access to cheap, locally built farm equipment, he talked to Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman Vince Dizon into setting aside a portion of Clark Air Base for the facility.
This all developed as 200 chief executive officers from South Korea gathered in Cebu this week for a convention.
It was where Korean Agriculture Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) Chairman Kim Ging-Il said that some South Korean manufacturers would like to establish the facility in the Philippines.
Kim said KAMICO only needed the support of the Philippine Government by allocating an area where they could set up the assembly plant.
“In the presentation which I delivered as the main speaker of the convention, I emphasized that one of the major programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Duterte Administration is farm mechanization,” Piñol said.
With a farm mechanization level of only 2.1 horsepower per hectare, the Philippines lags behind in productivity because of huge post harvest losses of 16.4 percent of total production, mainly in harvesting and milling.
The DA chief’s estimate is that Philippine agriculture sector needs about $3 billion over the next five years to be able to make agriculture and fisheries in the country efficient and more productive.
KAMICO officials said that by establishing their assembly plant in the Philippines, there will be a reduction in the prices of farm implements and equipment that will be sold in the country.
“On the part of the Philippines, the establishment of the KAMICO assembly plant in the Philippines would mean more investments in the country and more jobs for our skilled workers,” Piñol further said.