TarpStds1 The centerpiece program of the government in poverty alleviation, food security, rationale use of resources, global competitiveness, and sustainable development is the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA). A close examination of the major tenets of AFMA points to a very heavy reliance on the support from the field of agricultural engineering. Overall, AFMA places high priority on the following agricultural engineering technologies: irrigation, postharvest, structures, rural electrification, mechanization, alternative energy, domestic water supply, farm roads and bridges.

 In responding to the challenge, sound agricultural engineering principles and practices are required in the planning, design, construction, operation and optimization of agricultural engineeringtechnologies, systems and services. At the onset, the availability of Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standards (PAES)is required to ensure to a great extent the success of agricultural engineering projects in terms of technical performance.

 However, in the Philippines, the development of agricultural engineering standards has not been given due attention.The practice of agricultural engineering standards has been based on standards from the US and other countries whose appropriateness to Philippine conditions have not been verified. At most, what we have locally are Philippine standards for selected machines such as power tillers, rice threshers, rice mills, corn shellers, and grain dryers. Philippine standards for irrigation; structures for crops, livestock and fisheries; and alternative energy are non-existent. And the standards for rural electrification, domestic water supply, farm roads and bridges are lodged in other engineering fields and not with agricultura engineering.

 Development of standards for agricultural engineering in the Philippines started in the late 1970's with the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry creating the Technical Committee on Machinery for agriculture and forestry (BPS/TC56). Later, BPS/TC56 was replaced by TC 19 and the Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC) was designated as its official writing office. Pursuant to Articles 5 and 6, Chapter I, Title II of Republic Act No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, standards development and its implementation was identified to three agencies: Department of Agriculture (agricultural products), Department of Health (drugs, cosmetics, devices and substances) and Department of Trade and Industry (other products not covered by the two agencies).

 It is stated in Rule 59.1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 8435, otherwise known as Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 or AFMA that AMTEC may be designated by the Department of Agriculture to issue standards for agriculture and fisheries machinery. On 30 May 2001, the DA secretary issued Administrative Order No. 11 series of 2001 stating that standard specifications and test procedures of agricultural machinery shall be developed. AMTEC, in partnership with the PSAE and concerned DA agencies, shall be charged with formulation and development of the official agriculture and fisheries machinery standards. Such standards, to be known as the "Philippine Standards for Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery" shall be subjected to public hearings by the NAFC through its Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Committee (AFMeC), prior to its approval by the Secretary of Agriculture.

  There is an urgent need to develop our Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standards. Existing Philippine National Standards for Agricultural Engineering developed more than 10-20 years ago must be updated. Pending draft standards must be pursued and become PAES. Some sections of Philippine National Standards of related engineering fields such as electrical, civil, chemical, and mechanical engineering must be reviewed and modified for applicability to agricultural engineering. International standards for agricultural engineering must be reviewed and modified to suit Philippine conditions. New standards unique to the needs of AFMA must be written.

  The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), Professional Regulation Commission - Board of Agricultural Engineers (PRC-BOAE) and the Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers (PSAE) upon realization of the dire need for standards, initiated projects that will develop a set of Philippine National Standards for Agricultural Engineering to contribute to agricultural modernization, national development and global competitiveness. The Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC) of UPLB is implementing these projects.