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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 described 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. 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 level.

Compared with other Asian countries, the Philippines ranks 9th 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)
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).

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.

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

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

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 china 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

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

Palay Production (tons/ha) Average hp/ha


Peoples Republic of China 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 Iran 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

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
(e.g. basketball courts) 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 (e.g.
continuous flow or batch recirculating 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 & Corn Vegetables Coconut Sugarcane Fruits Fiber
Legumes & Crops
Root Crops
Land Prep Intermediate Low Intermediate Low Low
to High to High
Planting/Transplanting Low Low Low Low to High Low Low
Crop care cultivation Low Low Low Low to High Low Low
Harvesting Low Low Low Low Low
Threshing/Dehusking Intermediate Low Low
to High
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 3 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 population.
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. http:countrystat.bas.gov.ph.

Farm Machinery Manufacturing

There are around 350 identified agricultural machinery manufacturers and dealers in the
country as shown in Table 4. 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


Input Structure

Since raw material needs of the industry are mainly metallurgical. Steel materials (e.g.,
sheets, pipes, steel bars, and plates) account for the 70% to 90% of the total weight of the power
driven agricultural machinery (Manaligod, 1988). 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 package. As of now, imports in our country has jumped 19.1 percent year-on-year
to USD 7.43 billion in December of 2016, compared to a 19.7 percent rise in the prior month.
Purchases rose transport equipment iron and steel (74.6 percent), power generating and
specialized machinery (56.2 percent), telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery
(37.2 percent), industrial machinery and equipment (36.8 percent), plastics in primary and non-
primary forms (35.0 percent), iron and steel (19.2 percent) and electronic products (18.9 percent)
(Trading Economics, 2017). Thus, increasing the price range of our agricultural machines due to
the lack of import restrictions.

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 (i.e., purchase of
sophisticated fabrication machinery and equipment) is not viable for most firms which are small-

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

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
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 holdings.

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
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, 1990).

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.,

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 8. 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

Table 9. 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 10. 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 4, where possible solutions are also indicated.
Table 11. Problems and possible solutions of the agricultural machinery sector.
High acquisition cost Collective machinery ownership / machinery
Inappropriate Technology pooling / custom hiring
Low Reasearch & Extension capability of Needs assesment of AM suitability
appropriate farm machinery Capacity/capability enhancement/training
Low Income/lack of capital Provision of credit facilities, Clustering farmers
Small & fragmented land holdings into groups
Unfavourable market price for the farmer Farm Clustering & custom services
Cheap & abundant labour (in some areas) and Floor price, train farmers into entrepreneurs
seasonal labour shortage (processing & business)
Absorbing unemployed into other jobs, retooling
Encourage farm business enterprises
Creating new jobs in agricultural activities
(processing, waste handling, food processing, etc.)
Environment / infrastructure
Lack of infrastructure Put in place irrigation, processing facilities, farm
Diversity in Agroecosystem roads, access to market
Weak agricultural manufacturing industry Adjust the AM to the local-specific conditions
Environmental degradation Select the most promising machines to produce
Support local manufacturers, through R&D,
training, financial asistance
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 support AM Educate the political leaders on the importance
of AM
Put AM into strategic long-term programs
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


c. Manufacturers training on craftsmanship, manufacturing technology, operation,

repair and maintenance.

Implementation measures that will increase credit available to farmers for acquiring farm

Unification of R&D efforts and strengthen technology transfer to farmers through:

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 manufacturing

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 operations.
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, 2003).

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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