Senator Sonny Angara has called on the government to strengthen its farmer training programs on technological advancements and utilization of new agricultural machineries to boost the productivity and income especially of small farmers.
Speaking during the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s 1st Philippine Sugarcane Farming Mechanization Expo, Angara said farming mechanization can increase land productivity by facilitating quality cultivation. He said it can improve our farmers’ livelihood and ultimately.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations had underscored how mechanization is a crucial input for agricultural crop production and yet, it has been historically neglected in the context of developing countries.
According to the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture, old age and limited education are some factors that make Filipino farmers less receptive to new farming technologies that can boost yields.
Angara noted that under Republic Act 10659 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act, planters/farmers of sugarcane farms should be trained to utilize appropriate agricultural machineries and equipment necessary for the efficient planting, cultivation, harvesting and handling of sugarcane.
The law also provides for a socialized credit facility to help sugarcane farmers who do not have the capability to purchase or maintain their own machineries and equipment.
“We should have ensured that there is enough fund to implement the Sugarcane Industry Development Act na tutulong sa paglago ng ani at pagtaas ng kita ng mga magsasaka,” Angara said.
The senator cited the latest labor force survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority which showed a decline in unemployment rate but an increase in underemployment rate—the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work. Macon Ramos-Araneta
Based on the survey, much of the increasing underemployment was seen in the agriculture sector, which comprised the second largest group of the total employed in the country.