Agricultural mechanization is fundamental for the development of the agriculture sector and the achievement of food security. However, agricultural machinery can also present issues when it is not safe and efficient, creating threats to farmers and the environment, or exacerbating food losses. In this context, it is important to test agricultural machinery to ensure it meets standards of safety and efficiency. The Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery, for which CSAM serves as secretariat, brings together experts from the region to harmonize standards for the testing of machinery. Recognizing the importance of this activity for the achievement of food security in many countries of the region, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined the Philippines Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (ULPB) and CSAM to co-organize the meeting of the ANTAM Technical Working Group (TWG) on Power Tillers on 24-28 July 2023 in Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines. In addition to the fourteen experts from thirteen participating countries that attended the TWG meeting in person and online, delegates from the Department of Agriculture of Punjab Province, Pakistan, also joined the meeting as observers with support from ADB.
In the week-long meeting, thanks to the facilitation of AMTEC in its capacity as Chair of the TWG, the harmonized Code for Mini Tillers was revised and finalized for submission to the ANTAM Annual Meeting. Selected test items from the Code were demonstrated at the AMTEC testing facilities, and TWG members shared their experiences in the management of testing stations, which helped the revision and update of the ANTAM Quality Manual for Testing Stations. Representatives from local agricultural machinery manufacturers also attended the meeting, contributing to the discussion on the implementation of the ANTAM initiative. Participants concluded the event with visits to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), as well as the facilities of local agricultural machinery manufacturers.
After the meeting, CSAM joined AMTEC and the delegation from the Department of Agriculture of Punjab Province, Pakistan, at the Asian Development Bank to discuss further collaboration in support of the agricultural machinery testing capacity in Pakistan within the ANTAM framework.