DA allows more bidders in farm mechanization program

June 10, 2021 Cory Martinez 623 views

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has reduced the previous 25-year and 30-year “market presence” requirement to 10 years of farm machineries to allow more manufacturers and distributors to participate in the government’s farm mechanization program.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the policy democratizes the procurement process and makes the bidding more competitive, in pursuant to the ‘Government Procurement Reform Act’ or Republic Act 9184.

“Further, it avoids allegations of tailor-fitting the bidding process to favor a few suppliers. It also responds to complaints of prospective bidders as the 25-year to 30-year market presence requirement has deprived them of participating in the DA farm mechanization program,” he added.

Upon the recommendation of the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) and regional agricultural engineering divisions (RAEDs), Dar issued Memorandum Order No. 34, Series of 2021, on May 12, 2021, reducing the number of years of market presence on brand required in the procurement of four-wheel tractors.

The directive was addressed to the DA Undersecretary (Usec) for administration and finance, Usec for operations and agri-fisheries mechanization, all heads of bureaus, attached agencies and corporations, regional executive directors, and bids and awards committees (BAC).

“The new policy will henceforth attract more industry players and provide DA agencies wider choices of suppliers, thus hastening the Duterte administration’s farm mechanization program,” Dar said.

Previously, DA agencies have varying market presence requirements: 30 years for the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and DA regional field offices (RFOs) 1, 3, and 6; 25 years for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA); and 10 years for DA-RFO2.

In addition to the 10-year market presence, prospective bidders of four-wheel tractors are required to comply with the guidelines of the Philippine National Standards (PNS) and Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Standards (PABES); provide a minimum one-year warranty and show proof that the company has no reported major breakdowns for products under warranty in the last two years.

Other requirements include the after-sales services within 72 hours upon receipt of complaint, repair or replacement of worn-out or defective parts. Thus, it should have an accessible service center in target delivery areas; and conduct at least two maintenance visits within the one-year warranty period.

Dar also instructed the BAFE and RAEDs to conduct a rapid assessment of tractors previously distributed under the DA commodity banner, rice competitiveness enhancement, and other programs.

The assessment will be done in collaboration with the Nationwide Agri-Fisheries Investment Audit Team (NAFIAT) and Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC) at UP Los Baños.

“The quick evaluation will help us gather feedback from recipient-farmers’ cooperatives and associations or FCAs on the status, reliability, and durability of farm tractors,” said Dar, adding that a similar market survey will be done among new market players who will participate in the bidding process.

The result of the assessment will guide the DA-BAFE and UPLB-AMTEC in the development and implementation of durability testing protocols for four-wheel tractors, which should be harmonized and referenced with other countries.

“We are now coordinating the Department of Budget and Management and UP System to upgrade and transform AMTEC into the country’s premier farm machinery testing center,” Dar said.