Success in Synergy

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Dir. Apaga on demonstrating different parts of the engine.

Synergy: noun | syn·er·gy |ˈsi-nər-jē\.  The increased effectiveness that results when two or more people or businesses work together.

This meaning depicts the success of partnership between the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT), the Super Trade Machinery Global, Incorporated the Technical Educations and the Skills Development Authority-Nueva Ecija (TESDA-NE) that brought a beacon of hope in ensuring the sustainability of the mechanization program of the government while providing better opportunities for rural labor that may be displaced by mechanization.

The success indicators of the collaboration are the four batches of combined collaboration training course conducted on repair and maintenance of small farm engines and motorcycle that produced 89 new breed of TESDA certified farmer-mechanics from different areas in northern, central and southern Luzon.

In the said partnership training, the TESDA training regulation for small farm engines and motorcycle was modified used as basis with some modification. The enhancements made utilized the training module of Super Trade.

The training comprises 10 percent of lecture and 90 percent hands-on activities or engine troubleshooting using small farm engines that includes gasoline engine, air-cooled and water-cooled diesel engine.

On other hand, Super Trade volunteered and provided technical expertise and training materials such as tools, engines and other training equipment.

Engr. Joel R. Panagsagan, vice president-marketing and external relations of Super Trade Enterprises and concurrently the executive vice president of the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors’ Association (AMMDA) shared, “Even before, we are doing that kind of training already. That’s not new to us. We are doing that training in public and private sector in an invitation basis and we see to it that we impart the principles applicable in all brands whether local or imported.”

“PhilSCAT initiated is one of the most organized training that we had, because you have your own criteria who should be attending, you provided a very nice atmosphere –venue, that’s why your training module can be patterned and used by both public and private sectors who are willing to undergo this kind of training program”, he added.

Moreover, Engr. Panagsagan admitted that this training used to be one of their strategies to showcase and promote their products later on, but it became their advocacy hoping that all the trainee-graduates they had taught would eventually get jobs either from Super Trade or from other members of AMMDA for he believes that there is a shortage of skilled technicians and mechanic in our country.

The participating farmer-mechanics were received eligibility on Motorcycle/Small Engine Servicing National Certificate (NC) II from TESDA-NE, and ever ready to serve the individual farmers and cooperatives whenever engine shut down happens in their field.

During the post-training assessment and follow-up visit with the graduates, most of them who encountered farm engine shutdown during on-farm machine operations have already repaired those machines especially the hand tractors by themselves.

Evidently, they are now well versed in failure analysis and engine repair just like Victor Hipolito of Sto. Tomas, San Jose City who he is now getting more repair jobs for farm engines.

Majority of the graduates are considering the opportunity of becoming a “barrio mechanic” in their respective areas.

Engr. Panagsagan said that once they certified the graduates, they are considered the pride of their own community, because he believed that everybody is a potential contributor to society.

“We are very proud about the training that we had. It helps us, they see us that we are not only after the pesos and centavos, we are not only thinking profit; there is more to just selling and that is to develop people’s skills. It is very rewarding in our part,” he happily added.

The said training is envisioned to train and develop pool of farmer technicians which will cater small engine repair service for themselves and nearby farmers, according to PhilSCAT Assistant Director, Arnel Ramir M. Apaga.

Eventually, this project will create employment or provide other source of income of those farmers or individuals who will be trained and become experts in the field of engine repair services.

Asked if where the idea came from, Dir. Apaga said that based on his personal experience being a part-time farmer, in the events of his engine (hand tractor and water pump) shutdown –which occasionally bogs down while in operation, he find problems in the availability of repair center in town, which are not very scarce.

And if ever available, some of the repair shops’ technician are usually not well trained and just acquired their skills from experience and the so-called “patsamba-tsamba” skills thus most often than that, the engines bogged down again.

The director sees the scenario as very critical, as he said, “In the farm operation, farm engines is very critical because these are the prime mover on the basic farm operations and processing equipment used most often in land preparation, irrigation, threshing, drying and rice milling.”

In fact, about 950,000 units of engines is being used in farming particularly in the rice farmer sector and less than 50 percent of engine suppliers can provide after-sales services.

“It really affects the timeliness of the operation if there is no immediate after-sales service. Trouble shooting of small engines can be done by farmers themselves only if they are knowledgeable and trained, that’s why we taught of improving accessibility of after-sales service right in the farm”, he added.

This personal encounter and realization is not only particular to the shoes of Dir. Apaga because more than 50 percent of our farmers own small farm engines and rest are owned by the cooperatives

Based on the Rice Mechanization Program of the Department of Agriculture, it will be distributing several units of agricultural machineries for the farmers and farmer-cooperatives, such as irrigation pumps, hand tractors, and threshers until this year 2016.

Thus, establishment of a core of repair service shops or technicians that will provide trouble shooting services to small engine owners/farmers right in the farm is aptly needed.

Linking with the leading distributor of agricultural machineries in the Philippines –Super Trade and the first International Standards Organization (ISO) certified education agency –TESDA have been both rewarding and challenging and indeed proves the truce, there in success in synergy.

Indeed, this partnership only proved that teamwork spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S; hence capitalizing on good relationship and common goals has proved to be a winning tactic in order to facilitate and eventually attain mutual development objectives. Ramil R. Carbonel

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