Malaybalay City, Bukidnon – In efforts to further develop the technical capability of agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABEs), the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (DA-BAFE) has conducted a five-day refresher course training on testing and evaluation of agricultural and fisheries machinery in Northern Mindanao.


Licensed ABEs from the said region who would be part of the pool of Certified Test Engineers authorized to perform testing and evaluation on agricultural and fisheries machinery have completed the “Refresher Course on Testing & Evaluation of Agricultural & Fisheries Machinery” held at the Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex (NMACLRC), Malaybalay City, Bukidnon from September 5 to 9, 2022.

Photo caption: Seventeen (17) ABEs from local government units (LGUs) in Region X (provincial LGUs of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, city LGUs of Valencia City, Malaybalay City, Gingoog City, and Cagayan de Oro City, and municipal LGU of Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental), staff from DA-RFO X Regional Agricultural Engineering Division (RAED), and resource speakers from UPLB-AMTEC (Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center) and BAFE-SRED (Standards Regulation and Enforcement Division) were welcomed by NMACLRC Chief Carlito Lapoot (second row, center) during the opening ceremonies.


The crucial role of ABEs in modernizing the agriculture sector as well as the importance of multi-year planning for farm mechanization and infrastructure projects were mentioned by NMACLRC Chief Carlito Lapoot in his welcome remarks. Moving forward, the refresher course would enhance the capability of the participating ABEs to implement the necessary changes to improve the agriculture sector, Mr. Lapoot concluded.


BAFE-SRED Chief Engr. Janice Vargas emphasized the state policy, as prescribed in RA 10601 or the AFMech Law, to ensure the quality and safety of locally manufactured or imported agri-fisheries machinery. She further elaborated on the need for certifying test engineers, accrediting of testing centers, and certifying agricultural and fisheries machinery.


An overview of DA Department Circular (DC) No. 4 (Accreditation Guidelines for Agricultural and Fisheries Machinery Testing Center) and DC No. 05 series of 2017 as amended by DC No. 10 series of 2018 (National Guidelines on Testing and Evaluation of Agricultural and Fisheries Machinery) was also presented by Engr. Vargas. 


Engr. Romulo Eusebio of UPLB AMTEC explained the salience of testing and evaluation in relation to agricultural and fisheries machinery standards. “Standards should be based on the consolidated results of science, technology and experience, and must be aimed at the promotion of optimum community benefits,” he said.


Resource persons from UPLB-AMTEC Engr. Elthon Turtor and Engr. Rhey Marc Albalos lectured on the contents of the Philippine National Standard/Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standard (PNS/PAES); operations, specifications and methods of test for corn mill, corn sheller, and disc harrow attached to 4-wheel tractor; and preparation and interpretation of test report.


Photo caption: The actual performance testing of machinery for corn mill, corn sheller, and disc harrow attached to 4-wheel tractor was completed at the NMACLRC on September 7, 2022. The participants were assisted by Engr. Alden C. Tapio (senior test engineer and Chief of RAED SRES X) and other CTEs from DA-RFO X RAED.


On September 8, the participants were grouped into three for the preparation of test reports, open forum and presentation of test reports for corn mill, corn sheller, and disc harrow attached to 4-wheel tractor. A written exam for the certification of test engineers was administered in the afternoon. The 60-item written exam constitutes 60% of their final grade.


On the last training day, September 9, the practical examination was facilitated by Engr. Eusebio and Engr. Albalos of UPLB-AMTEC at the front yard of the Organic Agriculture Building at NMACLRC where participants took turns in answering the 40-item exam that is 40% of their final grade for the course.


In her closing remarks, DA-RFO X Regional Technical Director Carlota Madriaga stressed the importance of acceptance testing to ensure the quality and durability of of farm machinery procured by the government. She likewise expressed her appreciation to the resource speakers from DA-BAFE and UPLB-AMTEC for imparting their knowledge and expertise to enhance the capability of the participants to become Certified Test Engineers.  ###Marshall Louie Asis