By Eireene Jairee Gomez
June 11, 2021
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has reduced the market presence requirement for suppliers of four-wheel tractors 10 years in an effort to allow more farm machinery manufacturers and distributors to participate in the government’s farm mechanization program.
“The policy democratizes the procurement process and makes the bidding more competitive, in pursuant to the ‘Government Procurement Reform Act’ or Republic Act 9184,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.
“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 from participating in the DA farm mechanization program,” he added.
Previously, the DA had varying market presence requirements on its procurement of four-wheel tractors for the national farm mechanization program: 30 years for the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and DA regional field offices (RFOs) in Ilocos, Central Luzon and Western Visayas; and 25 years for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA); and 10 years for DA-RFO Cagayan Valley.
Upon the recommendation of the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) and regional agricultural engineering divisions (RAEDs), Dar issued Memorandum 34, Series of 2021, on May 12, 2021, reducing the number of years of market presence required in the procurement of four-wheel tractors.
“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.
Under the new policy, 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). They should also 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.
Moreover, the bidders should have an accessible service center in target delivery areas, providing after-sales services within 72 hours upon receipt of complaint, repair or replacement of worn-out or defective parts.
The DA also included in the new policy that participating farm machinery manufacturers and distributors should conduct at least two maintenance visits within the one-year warranty period.
To ensure efficiency and effectiveness of procured farm mahineries, Dar had 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 quick evaluation will help us gather feedback from recipient-farmers’ cooperatives and associations or FCAs on the status, reliability, and durability of farm tractors,” Dar said, adding that a similar market survey will be done among new market players who will participate in the bidding process.