Delbros Group Designs Modern Sugarcane Tractor To Help Improve Philippines Industry Practices

Workers carry newly harvested sugarcane stalks onto a truck to be used in "black honey" molasses production in Mallawi, Minya governorate, south of Cairo, Egypt February 3, 2019. Picture taken February 3, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Top Filipino agriculture firm Delgado Brothers (Delbros) Group developed a modern tractor that seeks to encourage innovation in the Philippines' sugarcane industry.

Delbros Group teamed up with Cane Express (CaneX), one of the firm's member companies, in a bid to revolutionize the Philippines' traditional harvesting practices, the Manila Times reported. CaneX is the first in the local market to deploy the modernized sugarcane tractor. At 48 feet, the triple axle Intermodal Trailers allows for hauling multiple loads.

The tractor is expected to help shorten overall delivery time for sugarcane harvests for added efficiency during operations. "With our modernized solutions, we aim not only to bridge the labor gap but also contribute to the sugarcane industry's positive output by improving the current harvesting loading and delivery model," CaneX Managing Partner, Sebastian Ledesma, said.

Due to higher production costs in the Philippines, the country is one of the Asian industries that make do with inefficient farming practices. Inadequate financial capacity is another reason for less modernized infrastructure and labor in the country.

With Delbros Group and CaneX's innovative trucks, farmers can focus more on growing sugarcane instead of pouring too much time and funds on other operations such as hauling and harvesting. CaneX trucks can be used for bigger loads of hauling in one day, unlike traditional and older models that extend hauling to two or three days.

With manual sugarcane loading, hauling takes up to four hours before a 10-wheeler truck is filled up. CaneX's mechanized tractors cut these long hours to only 50 minutes, allowing for more tasks to be completed.

Delbros Group is planning to double its harvesting tractors in the next two years. The company is expecting to dish out around P90 million in workforce and equipment investments. The Philippine firm is also planning to expand to other segments in the sugarcane industry such as fertilization and cultivation.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Senate is set to deliberate on sugar imports to the country and how these will affect the local sugarcane industry. Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said the hearing will further discuss the proposed liberalization of the sugar industry as promoted by economic managers.

According to the Business Mirror, Zubiri said in an interview that the Senate will look into potential loopholes in the proposal to ensure that the Philippine sugar industry will benefit from changes that could be implemented after the hearing.

Zubiri said among the measures that he is expecting to be brought up during the meeting is the regulation that would keep sugarcane farmers from engaging in business with traders and middlemen who may be "manipulating prices." He also said the measure will encourage planters to focus on direct sales.

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