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Republic of the Philippines

Southern Luzon State University

College of Arts and Sciences

Philippine Agricultural Machinery Industry:

Problems, Constraints, and Solutions

Term Paper

Presented to:
Ijy James Lomibao

Presented by:
Ryan Carlo Conde
Viverly Joy De Guzman
Rose Mel Mergilla

February 20, 2017

Agriculture is one of the prime movers of Philippine economy. The
country has abundant raw materials that can be utilized to create a wide
spectrum of products for food, feed and industrial applications. Agricultural
sector has contributed to about 12% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
and account for about 8% of the countrys export (BAS, 2010).
The present condition of agricultural sector can further be improved by
intensification and diversification of agricultural production systems. These
potentials however, are being hindered by due to lack of appropriate
agricultural engineering and mechanization technologies.
Agricultural machinery is a general term used to describe tractors,
combines, implements, machines, and other devices that are more
sophisticated than a hand tool, which are animal or mechanically powered
(Handbook on Agricultural Mechanization in the Philippines 1998). Whereas,
Agricultural Mechanization is the development, manufacture, and distribution
of all types of machinery, infrastructure, and equipment from farm
production to post harvesting and processing.
Agricultural mechanization aims in sustaining the agricultural
production of the country by bringing more lands under cultivation, saving
energy and resources, protecting the environment, and increasing the overall
economic welfare of our farmers. Machines and equipment are major inputs
of agriculture. The use and application of these technology to farm
production is one of the tools that maximizes farm production and profit.
During peak planting and harvesting seasons, labor demand is very high,
thus by mechanizing selected farm operations like land preparation and
harvesting, family labor mostly employed in their farms can engage in other
income-generating activities on- and off. Whereas labor shortage during peak
seasons of land preparation and harvesting will also be addressed and
timeliness of cropping schedule will be achieved (PCARRD, 2009).

Present Situation of Agricultural Mechanization:

Level of Mechanization

Mechanization in any area is characterized into three levels: low, fair,

and high. Low mechanization level means that manual power use has
exceeded 33%. Fair means that animal power utilization ranges from 34% to
100%. And high means that mechanical power utilization ranges from 67% to
100% (Rodulfo, et. al, 1998).

Table 1 shows the level of mechanization in rice and corn farming

operations, expressed in three main sources of power, namely: manual, man-
animal and mechanical. The data shows that human power dominates farm
operations at an average of 56.53%. Mechanical operations are applied
mainly in milling, threshing or shelling, land preparation, and planting.
Animals continue to dominate land preparation. Sun drying is still preferred
by farmers.

Table 1. Percentage of rice and corn farms vs. source of power.

Operation Power Source

Manual Man-Animal Mechanical

Land preparation 3.15 64.71 23.17

Planting 98.67 1.15 0.16

Weeding 85.20 14.80 0

Fertilizer application 98.69 1.65 0

Spraying 100 0 0

Harvesting 98.79 0 0

Threshing/shelling 31.01 0 68.99

Drying (farm level) 100 0 0

Milling 0 0 100

Average 56.53 19.25 21.70

Source: Agricultural Mechanization Development Program (AMDP), 1997

In terms of available power expressed as horsepower per hectare

(hp/ha), the level of mechanization stands at 1.68 hp/ha (Table 2). This is
relatively low compared with other neighboring countries. The reason for this
is the abundance of manual labor, which dominates the use of human power
in rice and corn cultivation activities. The high hp/ha of power tillers and
threshers indicate that the use of mechanical power in land preparation and
threshing is increasing. Irrigation, harvesting, and drying have low hp/ha

Table 2. Level of Mechanization in Rice and Corn.

Source of Power Hp/ ha

1. Human labor 0.24

2. Draft animal 0.08

3. Four-wheel tractor 0.24

4. Engines

a. Power tiller 0.56

b. Thresher 0.34

c. Irrigation pump 0.07

d. Harvesting, drying and shelling equipment) 0.15

Total 1.68
Source: Agricultural Mechanization Development Program (AMDP), 1997

Compared with other Asian countries, the Philippines ranks 9 th in terms

of level of mechanization at 0.52 hp/ha in 1990 (Table 3). This again is very
low compared with Japan at 7.00 hp/ha, Republic of Korea at 4.11 hp/ha, and
Peoples Republic of China at 3.88 hp/ha (RNAM, 1994).

Table 3. Level of mechanization among selected Asian countries, hp/ha.

Country 1968 1990

Japan 3.00 7.00

Republic of Korea 0.435 4.11

Peoples Republic of Not available 3.88


Pakistan 0.410 1.02

India 0.302 1.00

Thailand 0.348 0.79

Iran 0.239 0.70

Sri Lanka 0.378 0.58

Philippines 0.198 0.52

Indonesia 0.173 0.41

Bangladesh Not applicable 0.40

Nepal 0.733 0.30

Source: RNAM, 1994

In terms of rice production, RNAM report indicates that the Philippines

ranks eighth and sixth of 11 countries in terms of mechanization level and
production per hectare. Korea topped the list followed by China both based
on total power source. China and Korea ranked first and second, respectively
in terms of production per hectare (Table 4).

Table 4. Comparison of palay production and level of mechanization among

Asian countries.

Palay Production Average hp/ha

Country (tons/ha)

Peoples Republic of 5.36 3.88


Republic of Korea 4.70 4.11

Indonesia 4.04 0.41

Sri Lanka 3.42 0.58

Islamic Republic of 2.81 0.70


Philippines 2.64 0.52

Pakistan 2.50 1.02

Nepal 2.26 0.30

Thailand 2.14 0.79

India 1.68 1.00

Bangladesh 1.49 0.40

Source: RNAM, 1990

AMDP (1998) did a correlation analyses to determine the possible

relationship between the two variables. The computed linear coefficient of
0.7645 shows a degree of relationship between the level of mechanization
(independent variable) and the production per hectare (dependent variable).
However, it does not explain how the level of mechanization affects the
production per hectare since there are other factors that could affect
production per unit hectare such as farm inputs application and farmers
capability to increase inputs.

The level of agricultural mechanization in the different farming

operations of selected crops is shown in Table 5. In rice and corn production,
only land preparation and threshing are done with the use of mechanical
power source operated by man, while milling operation is highly mechanized.
The use of locally fabricated, imported or second hand (imported) hand
tractors in plowing and harrowing operations has increased over the years.
Threshing is done using axial flow threshers powered by diesel engines while
cleaning and bagging are done manually. At the farmers level, sun drying is
still the predominant method of drying in multipurpose pavements and rakes
for mixing rice, although some farmers are using the flatbed dryers. Traders
and millers who buy wet rice from farmers utilize mechanical dryers. Rice
milling operation is done using rubber roll rice milling machines by small-
scale rice millers, while big rice millers utilizes modern and energy-efficient
rice mills. Whereas in corn production, harvesting is done manually although
in clustered farms, there is an effort to introduce mechanical harvesting.
Another is thrashing or dehusking that is done either manually or through
the use of a husker sheller. Shelling is predominantly done using mechanical
shellers while drying is done through sun drying or with the use of flatbed
dryers or other mechanical dryers (Amongo. R.M., L.D. & Larona, 2011).

Table 5. Mechanization levels in various operations of selected crops.

Operations Rice & Vegeta Cocon Sugarcan Frui Fib
Corn bles ut e ts er
Legume Cro
s& ps
Land Prep Intermedi Low Intermedi Low Low
ate to ate to
High High
Planting/Transplan Low Low Low Low to Low Low
ting High
Crop care Low Low Low Low to Low Low
cultivation High
Harvesting Low Low Low Low Low
Threshing/Dehusk Intermedi Low Low
ing ate to
Cleaning Low
Drying Low Low Low Low
Milling High Low Low Low
Source: PCARRD, 2009

The predominance of manual operation and absence of mechanical

power in the production of other crops yields a lower level of mechanization
than those of rice and corn. However, the level of mechanization is high for
sugarcane, pineapple and banana due to the presence of imported machines
for large-scale operations of multinational corporations. Although harvesting
is still done through manual labor, there are attempts to introduce
mechanical harvesters, especially in large-scale sugarcane plantations. The
other postharvest and processing operations are mostly done using
mechanical machines.

Distribution of Farm Machinery

Table 6 shows the data of the census of major farm machinery in the
Philippines in 2002. There had been a rapid increase in the utilization of hand
tractors from about 200,000 units in 1998 to 1.5 million units in 2002
because of the need at that time to produce more food for the increasing

Table 6. Census of major farm machinery in the Philippines, 2002.

Farm Machinery Number of Units
Plow 2,723,850
Harrow 1,643,325
Sprayers 1,941,050
Hand Tractor 1,526,557
Source: Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.2002.

Farm Machinery Manufacturing

There are around 350 identified agricultural machinery manufacturers

and dealers in the country as shown in Table 7. Sixty nine percent are located
in Luzon, 11% in the Visayas and 20% in Mindanao. About one-third of them
are based in the National Capital Region. Many of these agricultural
machinery manufacturers and dealers are not organized except for a few
who are members of the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Dealers
Association (AMMDA) with only about 30 members. A mixture of importation
and local manufacturing characterizes the local agricultural machinery
manufacturing industry. Tractors with 90 Hp are at the forefront of land
development of crop plantations for alternative fuel. Other machines such as
power tillers, pumps, transplanters, seeders, weeders, reapers, and
postharvest equipment are locally manufactured (Canapi, 2010). However,
these manufactured machines have high import content since the engines,
electric motors, gearboxes, bearings, chains, sprockets, cold roll steels and
perforated sheet metals are all imported.

Table 7. Distribution of agricultural machinery manufacturers and dealers

Luzon: I 18 5.1
II 22 6.2
III 35 9.9
NCR 113 31.9
IV 29 8.2
V 27 7.6
Visayas: VI 30 8.5
VII 2 0.6
VIII 7 1.9
Mindanao: IX 13 3.7
X 18 5.1
XI 19 5.4
XII 21 5.9
TOTAL 354 100

The raw material needs of the industry are primarily metallurgical.

Steel materials including B.I. sheets, pipes, steel bars, and plates account for
70 to 90 percent of the total weight of power-driven machinery. According to
Manaligod (1988), the metallurgical properties of local steel materials do not
follow the standard softness and hardness required for the specified metal
classification. Poor quality of the local steel materials can be traced to the
absence of a truly integrated steel mill complex and lack of forging and
foundry facilities in the country (AMDP, 1990).
At present, the raw materials being imported include: engines,
bearings, chains, gear boxes, sprockets, perforated sheets, and cold roll
steel. On one hand, the other raw materials are already being supplied by
local mills. Since engines are wholly imported and therefore costly, they
constitute approximately 60 percent of the total cost of the machine

Steel Product Imports of the Philippines

Given the limited steel production in the country compared with
demand, the Philippines has been relying increasingly on imports to meet its
domestic demand. Imports of iron and steel products reached 3.2 million MT
and are distributed among several countries, with the Russia as the main
trading partner providing 61% of our external supply of billets and 38.2% of
total imports (Table 8). Other major trading partners include Ukraine and
Japan with 17.0% and 14.2% shares, respectively. Minor players include
Korea with 7.8%, where we import most of our cold rolled coils (27%), India
with 5.8%, and Taiwan with 5.0%. The rest of the countries accounts for a
total of 12%. Although posting a modest increase of 2.1% annually since
1994, incremental growth in steel imports has slowed down since 1996, prior
to the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Table 8. Steel Product Imports of the Philippines (in percent)


Low Level Manufacturing Technology

The industry is characterized by a predominantly labor-intensive

production technology. The most common production facilities used are the
bar cutter, sheet cutter, power saw, drill press, grinder, sheet bender, arc
weld, oxy-acetylene, lathe machine, shaper, and air compressor. The
manufacturing process basically involves cutting, grinding, drilling,
machining, sub-assembling, and finishing. According to industry experts,
however, there is a need to upgrade quality and introduce low cost and
better production techniques. Because of financial constraints on both sides
(manufacturers and users) large investment on capital assets is not viable for
most firms which are small-scaled.

According to the Tramat Mercantile Inc. (Ong, 1993), one of the

constraints in manufacturing equipment is the lack of capital to produce
fabrication machines and quality products and to procure raw materials.
Hence, most of the manufacturers are still in the cut and weld system.
Which limits the capability of our machinery manufacturers in designing and
fabricating these machines, thereby affecting the quality of workmanship for
locally manufactured machines. Inadequate shop equipment, use of
substandard materials, lack of skilled workers and lack of training on
machine fabrication further limit the attainment of a high level of
manufacturing system.

Industry Concerns

One of the main concerns of the industry is the poor quality of local
steel materials which is due to the absence of a truly integrated steel mill
complex in our country and the lack of forging and foundry facilities (AMDP
1990). Whereas, according to Manaligod (1988), the metallurgical properties
of our local steel materials do not follow the standard softness and hardness
required for the specified metal classification. Thus, this problem in effect
translates the manufacturing into a time-consuming and costly fabrication
process. Another problem is the high cost of raw materials, especially
imported materials and components that are subjected to high tariff rates.
The need to upgrade the present production technology is also a main
concern of the industry. Since its introduction in the early 1970s by
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), major changes have not been
made in the fabrication technology. Moreover, low demand for agricultural
machinery and equipment is another problem which may be due to the
following reasons: (a) low economic viability of farmers brought about by
high cost of some agriculture inputs; (b) inadequate financing and credit; and
(c) unfavorable natural calamities such as droughts, typhoons, floods, and
pests (Resurreccion 1991).

Low Level Manufacturing Technology

According to Tramat Mercantile Inc. (Ong, 1993), one of the constraints
in manufacturing equipment is the lack of capital to produce fabrication
machines and quality products and to procure raw materials. Hence, most of
the manufacturers are still in the cut and weld system. Which limits the
capability of our machinery manufacturers in designing and fabricating these
machines, thereby affecting the quality of workmanship for locally
manufactured machines. Inadequate shop equipment, use of substandard
materials, lack of skilled workers and lack of training on machine fabrication
further limit the attainment of a high level of manufacturing system.

Distribution Problems, Issues, and Constraints:

Innovative Machines vs. Market-Driven Machines

The prevailing issue here, in developing commercially successful

machines is meeting the market demands within acceptable price levels.
Where the industry must be able to come up with marketable machines,
which could meet-up the farmers operational needs at an affordable price
range. While private local manufacturers are apt at developing commercial
machineries, the institutional approach to technology development is quite
different (PCARRD, 2015) Apparently, machinery development at public
research institutions are generally geared towards satisfying the farmers
functional needs rather than meeting the market demand for new
machineries. According to Khan (1979), farmers need a variety of machines
or mechanized services, which may be beyond their purchasing power.
Research institutions have a tendency to be preoccupied with innovations
rather than being driven by a clearly perceived market demands.

Other marketing constraints are: seasonality of demand; prohibitive

trucking and shipping rates; keen competition from imported products;
irrational taxes, duties for raw materials and fabrication machines; and lack
of volume of demand (AMMDA, 2003).

Inadequate Technology Transfer Mechanisms

According to Khan (1991), efforts to mechanize agriculture in many

developing countries has been directed towards introducing a new variety of
imported farming machineries. This import-based technology transfer
strategy has not been successful to many small farm holdings. One reason is
the inappropriateness of the technology to the local farming conditions, as
most of these machines were developed in countries with large farm

Extension workers are the key persons in this technology transfer. They
need not only interpersonal communication skills, but technical qualifications
as well. With very limited number of extension staff in a big number of client-
farmers, the result would end-up in the non-adoption of some technologies.
Another is that these workers might be lacking the capability to integrate the
mechanization technology in the total farming system. Since, they too, might
be lacking in trainings particularly dealing with agricultural mechanization
(Paras, 2005).

Inadequate Support Services. The lack of support services to ensure

machines acceptability to farmers has been a continuing constraint in
promoting agricultural machineries. These include limited access to credit,
and ineffective marketing systems.

Farmers side and Issues

Prices of acquiring and maintaining durable farm machineries continue

to stay at levels unaffordable to most farmers. One of the reason here is the
high tariff rate levied by the government on imported agricultural machinery
and parts. Imported farm machinery are levied a 10% value added tax. Since
locally manufactured machineries have high import content. The only means
of availability of farmers to access these machines are credited facilities,
common ownerships through cooperatives and associations, and custom-hire
arrangements with private entrepreneurs. However, employing these means
continues to be minimal because of the limited cooperativism and small
number of entrepreneurs who engages in this kind of business (AMMDA,

Low adoption of improved postharvest technologies

Several efforts have been exerted in designing and developing postharvest

machineries in our country, specifically mechanical dryers appropriate both in our
local conditions and requirements. Mechanical dryers in the country, both imported
and locally fabricated, are suitable in the wide range of capacities and systems.
These were developed to increase labor productivity and efficiency in certain
postharvest activities but have not been adopted extensively.

Policy Constraints
According to PCARRD (2015), one of the reasons for the proliferation of
imported equipment in the Philippines is the adoption of liberal import
policies and the lack of import restrictions on the agricultural machinery.
Thus, being an addition to the unstructured tariff and taxation systems,
which had negative effects on the viability of the local agricultural machinery
industry. Import duties on agricultural machinery in the Philippines ranges
from 10% to 30% for completely built-up (CBU) engines, 10% for completely
knocked down engines (CKD) and 50% for raw materials. As stated in the
National Emergency Memorandum, tariff of machinery and equipment was
pegged at 10% and none for engines. Hence, lowering of tariff was reported
effective in the changes of output prices and increased production (Cruz,

Process of Distribution

Figure 1. showing the schematic diagram and the total processes of the
Agricultural Machinery Industry from Business sector to Individual Farmers.
This figure shows that there is a long and continuous interaction being done
before individual farmers can acquire it (Kahn. A.U., 1979).
Fig. 1 Proposed machinery development Sequence in the Agricultural
Mechanization Research Institute.

Influx of Second Hand Machinery

The influx of second hand imported machinery in the country is

becoming attractive to farmers due to its low initial cost. But repair and
maintenance becomes a problem especially when replacement parts are
hard to find. Because these are imported, conditions for which the machinery
was designed may not be suitable for our local conditions.

Total Growth and Progress of Agricultural Machinery

Table 9. Manufacture Growth and Structure

Source: PMI, 2013

- Mfg growth sluggish from 1980s-1990s

- Some modest gains posted in the 2000s

- very little movement of resources in manufacturing as share to total

industrial output declined

Table 10. Manufacturing Value Added

Source: PMI, 2013

- Negative total factor productivity growth: very little capital

accumulation or technological change, absence of or slow industrial
upgrading, lack of structural transformation

- Lack of export diversification

Table 11. Structural Transformation of East Asian Countries

Source: PMI, 2013

- Philippines still remains outside the league of East Asian Success


Agricultural Machinery Industry Problems and Concerns

The adoption of agricultural machinery in the Philippines is beset with
major problems as listed in Table 12, where possible solutions are also
Table 12. Problems and possible solutions of the agricultural machinery
High acquisition cost Collective machinery ownership /
Inappropriate Technology machinery pooling / custom hiring
Low Reasearch & Extension Needs assessment of AM suitability
capability of appropriate farm Capacity/capability
machinery enhancement/training
Low Income/lack of capital Provision of credit facilities,
Small & fragmented land holdings Clustering farmers into groups
Unfavourable market price for the Farm Clustering & custom services
farmer Floor price, train farmers into
Cheap & abundant labour (in some entrepreneurs (processing &
areas) and seasonal labour shortage business)
Absorbing unemployed into other
jobs, retooling
Encourage farm business
Creating new jobs in agricultural
Environment / infrastructure Put in place irrigation, processing
Lack of infrastructure facilities, farm roads, access to
Diversity in Agroecosystem market
Weak agricultural manufacturing Adjust the AM to the local-specific
industry conditions
Environmental degradation Select the most promising
machines to produce locally
Support local manufacturers,
through R&D, training, financial
Introduce the business of service
and maintenance of AM
Promote joint ventures with foreign
Control the utilization of chemical
materials Promote sustainable
farming systems
Political / Institutional
Lack/inconsistant Politicalwill to Educate the political leaders on the
support AM importance of AM
Put AM into strategic long-term
Promote AM through International
Networking & Cooperation

Possible Solutions:

Research to Investigate Whether Agricultural Cooperatives in

Communal Areas Can Facilitate smallholder farmer access to Input
and Product Markets

Implication of Cooperative in Agriculture

a. Information dissemination activities through tri-media, machine

displays and exhibits, farmers field day should be actively pursued in
the countryside where these are needed.

b. Popularized versions of training and technical materials and their

translation to local dialects would promote better understanding of
these materials.

c. A centralized information database accessible to farmers, extension

personnel, scientists, engineers, students, and policy makers. The
databank should contain statistics and information on machinery
inventories, trends in machinery sales, development and availability of
new machinery/technologies in the local and international community.

Capacity Building

a. Training for farmers regarding machine use and operations;

b. Training extension workers on technology transfer approaches for

agricultural machines;

c. Manufacturers training on craftsmanship, manufacturing technology,

operation, repair and maintenance.

Implementation measures that will increase credit available to farmers for

acquiring farm machinery
Unification of R&D efforts and strengthen technology transfer to farmers

a. Conduct of a comprehensive review and assessment of machines

suitable to farmers and their farm conditions

b. Promote right farm tools, improve packaging of mature, ready-to-use

technologies and disseminate information to users

c. Improve linkage among private and public institutions engaged in farm

mechanization development

Providing incentives for a more developed agricultural machinery industry

to ensure availability of appropriate machinery through:

a. Tariff reduction on farm machine imports and machine components that

are not locally produced

b. Implementation of industrial extension measures, including

standardization and product certification services

c. Promotion of investment and joint ventures in farm machinery


d. Establishment of an industry linkage to encourage mutual support and

complementation of manufacturing and after-sales services

e. Encourage agricultural machinery exports.

Development of Simple Low Cost and Gender-Friendly Machines

In the Philippines, indigenous design and production of simple, low cost

machines is important in mechanizing small farm holdings. As much as 80%
of the farm power is provided by human labor. To complement this labor,
there is a need to develop simple manual equipment for various farm

In most developing countries, the human labor comprises as much as

60% of women workers. Hence, the proposed appropriate machine designs
should be based on the ergonomic limitations of the individuals (Salokhe,
Development of Machines for Village-Level Processing of Farm
Products and By-Products

Machines for village-level postharvest operations generate

employment and livelihood in the rural areas. Likewise, they help diversify
and increase value added to farm products. This activity is in line with the
governments program on poverty alleviation and helps increase the demand
for this agricultural machinery.


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