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MARCH 16, 2013

NR # 3045

Agri-Fishery mechanization law nears enactment

Environment-friendly agricultural modernization is one of the vital programs government must pursue to enhance food security and fight poverty in the country, lawmakers today said. We are very confident that the President would give due course to the proposed Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMech) Law, the authors said. The House of Representatives, which approved the proposed AFMech law contained in HB 6548, subsequently adopted the Senate-approved counterpart measure under SB 338. The adopted measure is entitled An Act Promoting Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Development in the Country. The Senate was expected to transmit or has transmitted the enrolled copy of the bill to the Office of the President. The House-version was principally authored by Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (4th District, Batangas) and adopted by the Senate with principal authors of their version led by Senators Ramon Revilla, Jr., Manny Villar and Francis Pangilinan. The measure mandates the formulation of a comprehensive National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program by the Department of Agriculture (DA) with provisions of clear objectives. There shall also be, among other provisions, an Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Committee (AFMeC) under the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), which shall act as an advisory body to ensure the success of the programs and activities of the DA concerning agri-fishery mechanization. The proposed law also provides for the responsibilities of local government units, pursuant to the Local Government Code, like undertaking applied research, extension, dispersal, management and regulation of agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment, including the collection of fees. It also provides for penalties and sanctions on prohibited acts like selling, mortgaging or leasing of agricultural and fishery machinery without being registered with the BAFS (Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards) among others. The proposed Act, the authors said, would ensure the development and adoption of modern, appropriate and cost-effective and environmentally-safe agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment to enhance farm productivity and effectiveness in order to

achieve food security and safety and increase farmers income. Likewise, it would provide a conducive-environment to the local assembling and manufacturing of engines, machinery and equipment for agricultural and fisheries production, processing and marketing. It would also ensure the quality and safety of machineries and equipment locally manufactured or imported by strengthening regulation through the development and enforcement of machinery and machine performance standards, regular testing and evaluation, registration, and the accreditation and classification of supplies, assemblers and manufacturers to ensure compliance to prescribed quality standards, they added. Furthermore, the proposed Act strengthens support services such as credit facilities, research, training and extension programs, rural infrastructures, post harvest facilities and marketing services. The measure also seeks to unify, rationalize and strengthen the implementation, coordination of activities and mechanisms on agricultural and fisheries mechanization programs and projects, they said. Likewise, the authors said, the bill aims to deliver integrated support services to farmers, fisherfolks and other stakeholders, and assist them to be able to viably operate and manage their agricultural and fisheries mechanization projects. (30) dpt