The Department of Agriculture (DA) has eased the “market presence” requirement for farm machinery manufacturers and distributors so that more of them could participate in government biddings.
From the previous 25 to 30-year market presence requirement, the agency has reduced it to only 10 years to allow more manufacturers to join farm mechanization program biddings, particularly on the procurement of four-wheel tractors.
“The policy democratizes the procurement process and makes the bidding more competitive, in pursuant to the Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act (RA) 9184,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“Further, it avoids allegations of tailor-fitting the bidding process to favor a few suppliers. It also responds to complaints of prospective bidders as the 25-year to 30-year market presence requirement has deprived them of participating in the DA farm mechanization program,” Dar added.
The secretary issued Memorandum Order No. 34, Series of 2021 on May 12, 2021, reducing the number of years of market presence on brand required in the procurement of four-wheel tractors.
Before this, the agency had varying market presence requirements: 30 years for the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and DA regional field offices (RFOs) 1, 3, and 6; 25 years for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA); and 10 years for DA-RFO2.
In addition to the 10-year market presence rule, prospective bidders of four-wheel tractors need to comply with the guidelines of the Philippine National Standards (PNS) and Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Standards (PABES); provide a minimum one-year warranty; show proof that the company has no reported major breakdowns for products under warranty in the last two years; provide after-sales services within 72 hours upon receipt of complaint, carry out repair or replacement of worn-out or defective parts; and conduct at least two maintenance visits within the one-year warranty period.
Meanwhile, the DA chief also instructed the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) and regional agricultural engineering divisions to conduct a rapid assessment of tractors previously distributed under the DA commodity banner, rice competitiveness enhancement, and other programs.
“The quick evaluation will help us gather feedback from recipient-farmers’ cooperatives and associations or FCAs on the status, reliability, and durability of farm tractors,” Dar said, adding that a similar market survey will be done among new market players who will participate in the bidding process.
Dar said the result of the assessment will guide DA-BAFE and UPLB-AMTEC in the development and implementation of durability testing protocols for four-wheel tractors, which should be harmonized and referenced with other countries.