Attending Korea’s biennial agricultural machinery trade show can be overwhelming. You are overwhelmed by the size of the exposition as well as the number of farm machines for almost every purpose.
This is the KIEMSTA 2016, the Korea International Exhibition for Machinery Equipment, Science and Technology for Agriculture, staged by the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) headed by chairman Shin Gil Kim.
Imagine seven exhibition halls, each almost as big as the indoor exhibit area of Agrilink at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. And each exhibit hall is filled with nothing but machines and equipment for mechanizing agriculture. The machines come in very big as well as very tiny ones.
The big ones include the Robotractor which is a massive machine that can perform big jobs like excavating fields with its giant buck hoe, or picking up giant bales of hay for livestock and other heavy materials. The machine is really big but is very maneuverable as we have witnessed at the demo site. The other big machines are the giant Branson tractors of Kukje Machinery Company and other international exhibitors.
Of course, there are more machine of more modest sizes that are more suitable for developing economies like the Philippines and other Asian countries where there are many small landholdings. These include the versatile tillers that are excellent for preparing land for planting vegetables and other high-value crops. One of the biggest manufacturers of this versatile tiller is the Asia Tech headed by Jae-Won Uhm. Aside from the small tillers, Asia Tech boasts of a ride-on small tractor to which can be attached implements like rotavator, sprayer, weeder, fertilizer spreader and direct grain seeder. Being a ride-on type, it is very comfortable for the operator.
One very small and simple gadget that can be used by rice farmers is an implement that can be attached to a conventional grass cutter. This consists of a blade ($8 in Korea) that can be used as a weeder in single-row rice fields. It does not only eliminate the weeds, it also cultivates near the root zone at the same time.
Another very small machine is used in grafting seedlings of vegetables. In a matter of one or two seconds, the scion of a desirable vegetable seedling is grafted unto a rootstock that is resistant to diseases and other stresses. In the Philippines, one company is grafting ampalaya on a rootstock of patola. The grafted seedling costs P17 each but the extra expense is more than recovered by the increase in yield.
Many multi-purpose drying machines (not for rice) were showcased at the trade show. They are useful in producing high-quality processed foods. The dryers can dry vegetables, fruits, marine products, herbal materials, and many others. What most fascinated Eugene Gabriel of Agricom (from Isabela) is a mini dryer for household use. It can be a useful gadget in the household for drying food products that include mushroom, peppers, tomato, ampalaya, cucumber, radish, carrots, beans, and fruits like mango, jackfruit, chico, pineapple and many others. More on Korean machinery some other time.