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Marqueses, Patricia Ann O.

Saguil, Naomi Isabelle L.

Republic Act 10601: Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Law (AFMech)


I. Abstract
The Republic Act No. 10601 is an act promoting agricultural and fisheries
mechanization development in the country. This act is known as the “Agricultural and
Fisheries Mechanization Law, also called as AFMech. Republic Act 10601 was signed
into law by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III on June 05, 2013.
The AFMech law promotes the development and adoption of modern, cost-effective,
environmentally-safe and appropriate machineries using human, animal, mechanical,
electrical, renewable and other nonconventional sources of energy to be used in
agricultural and fisheries production which in turn enhances farm productivity and
efficiency consistent with the agronomic conditions of the country. This is all provided in
the pursuit of achieving food security and safety and increase farmers’ income.
Of course, the State also takes into consideration the local assembling and
manufacturing of engines, machinery, and equipment by providing manufacturers with a
conducive environment while also ensuring the quality and safety of these machineries
and equipment whether locally manufactured or imported.
The provision of this Act applies to the research, development and extension,
promotion, distribution, supply, assembling, manufacturing, regulation, use, operation,
maintenance and project implementation of agricultural and fisheries machinery and
equipment.
II. General Information
The Department of Agriculture is in charged of setting aside the funds from the
Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) and its regular research and
development funds to support research programs, processing of patent applications,
and testing and certification of locally designed agri-fisheries equipment and
machineries.
It is also explicitly stated that all local government units (LGUs) shall include the
funding support in their investment plans the implementation of the respective
provincial, city, municipal and barangay agricultural and fisheries mechanization
programs in accordance with the implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act
No. 7160 and the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2005 of the Local
Government-Department of Budget and Management (DILG-DBM).
In accordance to Article 9, Section 38, AFMech law states that the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) must allocate funds from the Higher Education Development
Fund which is necessary for the upgrading of agri-fisheries mechanization and
laboratory facilities of involved state universities, scholarships, and faculty training
program. The TESDA shall likewise allocate funds from its annual appropriations
necessary for the skills certification and training program for agri-fishery machinery
technicians and operators.
According to the publication of The Philippine Star, a National Agro-fishery
Mechanization Program was stipulated by the law and created by the Department of
Agriculture. It would be in-charge regarding the provision of credit, research grants, and
manufacture of fishery and farm machineries by the private sector.
The Department of Agriculture is the one capable to integrate all the researches on
fisheries and farm mechanization. Under a National Agricultural and Fisheries
Mechanization Research and Development and Extension Agenda, these are being
conducted by state universities, colleges, and local government units.
To ensure the programs’ success, the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization
Committee would act as an advisory body under the National Agricultural and Fishery
Council. To strengthen its farm and fisheries groups, the Department of Agriculture is
also mandated through the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries’ Engineering’s creation.
It will recommend, prepare, and evaluate engineering plans for fishery and farm
machines.
The Republic Act No. 10601 has been approved by Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, alongside with Juan Ponce Enrile, the
President of the Senate. On February 4, 2013, the R.A. No. 10601 is a consolidation of
House Bill No. 6548 and Senate Bill No. 3338. It was finally passed by the House of
Representatives and the Senate. The Act has been signed by Marilyn B. Barua-Yap,
The Secretary General of the House of Representatives, and Edwin B. Bellen, the
Acting Secretary. President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed the R.A. No. 10601 on
June 5, 2013.
III. Critique
The Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Law (AFMech) is a keystone player in
shaping and molding the science scene of the Philippines in terms of agriculture and
fisheries. Despite being a foundation in developing a country with mechanized systems
of producing food, this law also promotes some of the biggest and most essential
elements in all of the branches and fields of science, which are: research, development,
and extension (RDE).
This law incorporates the so called National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program
(NAFMP) which was formulated by the Department of Agriculture to promote and
support the mechanization of agriculture and fisheries production through the provision
of research grants, credit, transparent and predictable regulation, the local development
and manufacture of agricultural and fisheries machinery by the private sector. The
National Agri-Fishery Mechanization Program also unifies, leads, and supports the effort
of various institutions in the research, design, and development of agricultural and
fisheries machinery.
It has also established an Agri-fisheries Mechanization RDE Network. This network
is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the RDE agenda that shall be
composed of research and educational institutions, LGUs, nongovernment
organizations (NGOs), etc.
In terms of technologies, the Philippines is one of the countries that lagged behind
other Asian countries in regards to mechanical power at 1.68 hp/ha (Amongo, 2011).
Also, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research
and Development (PCARRD) states that the different farming activities of selected
crops were predominantly operated at low mechanization which means that the
Philippines is not efficient in terms of agriculture and fisheries production.
However, through the Republic Act 10601, or the AFMech law, there has a been a
forward and positive shift in the various innovations in mechanization technologies in
the Philippines. Appropriate, location specific, cost-effective, environmental friendly, and
efficient agri-fishery machineries are developed for agricultural production and
postharvest/post-production operations in the pursuit of achieving efficient and
economic farm and fisheries management towards the modernization of agriculture and
fisheries. It also establishes quality, safety, and performance standards for agricultural
and fisheries machinery.
The Republic Act No. 10601 would be able to promote the adoption and
development of cost-effective, modern, appropriate, and environmentally-safe fisheries,
agricultural machinery and equipment. This is in order to achieve the safety, security,
and farmers’ income’s increase. Integrated support services are also being delivered to
other stakeholders, farmers, and fisherfolk. To be able to manage the fisheries and
agricultural mechanization projects, they are being assisted.
Trainings are being conducted in the fishers and agricultural mechanization for those
who are engaged. These are the operators, agricultural engineers, technicians,
fisherfolk, extension workers, farmers, and manufacturers. Aside from trainings,
scholarship programs are also being provided. In partnership with the state universities
and colleges, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor and Employment, and the
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are the ones responsible in the
respective trainings. Scholarships shall be given priority for graduate and undergraduate
degrees in relation to trade/vocational courses on agricultural and fisheries
mechanization and agricultural engineering. These will be provided by the Department
of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, and the Commission on Higher
Education.
Through Philmech, the Department of Agriculture has conducted public
consultations nationwide and tackled the AFMech’s Implementing Rules and
Regulations. We appreciate that the Republic Act 10601 aims to improve the lives of the
Filipino fisherfolk and farmers here in the Philippines. The agriculture’s modernization
through mechanization is beneficial to the improvement of the production’s efficiency.
Cost-effective technologies are also being promoted and implemented. The projects
related to fisheries and agriculture mechanization is deemed attainable with the AfMech
Law. There is the harmonization of various institutions’ efforts.