‘Barrio’ mechanic on call

DSC_0023_webJust like people, things also needed to be taken care of more so if it aids as in the performance of job that sustain us. In our generation that requires greater efficiency in work, delays cannot be tolerated most of the time. Same goes to our farm where we need to schedule our activities due to several critical factors.

Usually, farmers encounter problems with their engines, and it is a hassle when in the middle of farm operation at the field, the machine suddenly stopped due with some problems you can’t identify. Calling for someone who has a proper knowledge about engines is somehow problematic when you don’t even know who to call. But worry no more, since PhilSCAT has already embarked on training farmer technicians who can actually help you. They are your small farm engines (SFE) doctors on call.

Small Farm Engines

Based on history, John Froelich from the United States of America invented the first gas powered tractor. The machine that he first invented was a steamed-power thresher but was basically costly and considered dangerous since it could be easily set on fire just by a spark of the boiler thus he decided to improve it.

As a result of his further experimentation, he developed a new design that can be driven safely at 3 mph with one cylinder gasoline engine onto the thresher steam engine’s running gear. Because of this success, he decided to expand in order to create the Waterloo Gasoline Tractor Engine Company in 1849 with four prototype tractors that brought a new concept to the agricultural sector of America that significantly affected the other country’s agriculture.

This invention saved the farmers a lot of time and money in comparison to the conventional farming method. At first years after the invention and after it was commercialized, the price dropped to half that made it more affordable for the farmers.

Nowadays, tractor are commonly used during the land preparation accross cropping season. Farmers are now using these machines aiding them to be more productive and makes their work a lot easier.

Training on Repair and Maintenance of SFE

PhilSCAT, with its aim to help the government’s Rice Mechanization Program, saw the needs of the farmers to learn more about machines and how to deal with it.

Here in the Philippines, hand tractors and water pumps are commonly used in farms for cultivation process. But there are times that these engines shut down and the farmers are not knowledgeable on how to properly prepare and maintain it causing them trouble and delays to some extent.

To address this problem, PhilSCAT together with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 4B (DA-RFO 4B), DA-RFO 3, DA-RFO 2 Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-NE (TESDA-NE), and Super Trade Machinery Global, Inc  held series of seminars entitled Training on Repair and Maintenance of Small Farm Engines. This is ca 6-day seminar held in three batches and participated by farmers from different regions.

Today, this event already produced hundreds of farmer technicians who holds a National Certificate II (NC II) after having passed the assessment of TESDA held on the 6th day of the training.

Mechanic on Call

Farmers need not to worry any more. The engine’s doctor is now just a call away. Since it is somehow tedious to take an engine from your field when it shut down, a farmer technician can surely address the problem and come to the field to check on the engine. In this way, time and effort is saved and farmers can readily resume the activity.

“Usually, my customers just call me thru cellular phone. They just tell me that they needed me in their house to repair a machine, but most of the times, they call me to go direct to their farm since their machine suddenly stopped during the operation,” said Victor Hipolito, 52, from Sto. Thomas, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

Mr. Hipolito started in the business of repairing engines year 2000. His customers are usually from the nearby barangay. He admitted that he was not well knowledgeable about engines during those time. But after he graduated from the Training on Repair and Maintenance of Small Farm engines way back July 2014, he became confident in repairing different kinds of machines.

As a result, his income increased. The National Certificate II (NC II) added to his credibility and make him legitimately knowledgeable in engine repair. One of the biggest learning he learned from thhe training was being able to learn how to repair the water cooled and air cooled engines which he was not even aware of the great difference in functions and in mechanics.

“The income brought about by the SFE is good, I got 700 pesos for engine overhauled, and 300 pesos for troubleshooting”, he said when asked about his income.

Hipolito is not just a machine technician, but also a farmer, and a tricycle driver. He plant rice in a 4,000 sqm and transport people using his tricycle. This two occupation serves as an extra source of income whenever he is available. This is also his way of using his spare time productively.

He has four children whom he was able to send to school and one of them is now a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. While his eldest son is now helping him in the repair and maintenance of SFE. He taught him everything that he learned from the training and from the experiences that he had in his years of doing this kind of work.

“My customers are the ones who recommend me to the other farmers that they know. They will give them my number and they just contact me through phones. I don’t need to do my own advertisement,” he said when asked on how people knew about his services.

He usually encounters problem during the repair of the old models engine since the spare parts were no longer available in the market and are on by-order-basis. The nozzle, plunger and piston ring are the parts that needed to be replaced most of the times.

On the other hand, he also accepts motorcycle repair which was also included in his SFERM training. But according to him, motorcycle repair is quite more complicated since it involves electricity.

Continues dissemination of knowledge about SFE is a good avenue in order to improve not just the crop production in the country but also it helps n improving the lives of the farmer technicians. This is one way of giving the Filipino farmers an opportunity to learn and earn at the same time. Jessa M. Rarama

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