Sugar Regulatory Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin is in Italy for the signing Tuesday of a Technical Cooperation Agreement with CREA-ING of Italy, an Engineering Unit of the Council for Research in Agriculture and Agricultural Economy Analysis .
The agreement was signed by Martin and Dr. Paolo Menesatti, CREA-ING director, in the presence of Dr. Luigi Pari, the Italian expert in farm machinery; Attilio Tonolo, the lead of the suscace project fund for the deployment of experts to the Philippines; Dr. Michela Morese, Executive Secretary of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) who is also an UN-FAO officer; and other officials of the Italian ministry of agriculture on European and other international projects, a press release from SRA said yesterday.
The Philippine side was composed of Lupino Lazaro Jr., Agriculture Attache in Rome; Candy Cypres, Third Secretary of the Philippine embassy in Rome; and Rosemarie Gumera of the SRA Planning and Policy.
Farm mechanization is conceived by SRA to address labor shortage during the harvesting and loading operations, improve farm productivity, reduce the incidence of child labor and reduce workers' risks on hazardous and strenuous farm activities, the press release said.
The Italian expert will map out first the harvesting and loading practices in the Philippines by observing the practices of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao farms, study the design of harvesters and loaders suited to the soil and topography or terrain of Philippine sugarcane farms. The SRA administrator also sought the assistance of the Italian expert to study the design of trash incorporators and balers for excess cane trashes in the fields which will provide an added value for the planters especially the small landholders by delivering / selling such baled trashes to sugar mills which are generating biomass power to the grid, it added.
Philippine Ambassador Domingo Nolasco supports the undertaking and stated that this TCA between SRA and CREA-ING will jumpstart for more partnerships between the Philippine agriculture sector and CREA which can be expanded for the mechanization needs of other Philippine crops as well.
The signing of the TCA was done at the CREA-ING headquarters in Rome. Martin will also visit CREA-ING's research institute and its display of prototype biomass machineries, the press release added.*
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