Farmers getting older, study shows

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OLDER FARMERS  Ilocano farmers from Candon City, Ilocos Sur are harvesting the palay in their fields. A study by the Philippine center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) showed that more rice farmers are between 40 and 50 years old but there are plans to attract young people to be involved in agribusiness. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICAÑA

OLDER FARMERS
Ilocano farmers from Candon City, Ilocos Sur are harvesting the palay in their fields. A study by the Philippine center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) showed that more rice farmers are between 40 and 50 years old but there are plans to attract young people to be involved in agribusiness. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICAÑA

MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija: A study conducted by the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) showed that most of the country’s farmers are getting older and warned of an eventual shortage of farm workers.

But efforts are afoot and are focused on getting the youth sector’s involvement in agri-business through equipment modernization and developing agribusiness.

In collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Agricultural Mechanization Development Program (UPLB-AMDP), PhilMech’s study in 2014 reveals that farmers are above 40 years old.

“Most rice farmers were within [the]40-59 age bracket although a high percentage of farmers aged 60 and above was noted in Camarines Sur and Iloilo,” the study said.


The PhilMech and UPLB-AMDP study covered 13 provinces where rice is grown showing that many old farmers are no longer doing actual farm work and warned that “there would be a shortage of farm labor in the future if the agriculture sector does not get new young farmers.”

Last year, two studies, one done by PhilMech and UPLB-AMDP and another by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) entitled, “Benchmarking Philippine Rice Economy Relative to Major Rice-Producing Countries in Asia” also showed that Filipino rice farmers are among the oldest in Asia.

For the 2014 study, PhilMech is optimistic that more young people will be more interested in agriculture as more post-harvest and mechanization technologies are now available.

Rex Bingabing, PhilMech Executive Director, said the agency has developed new technologies for the country’s agriculture sector.

For example, he said, there are technologies for rice mechanization that would ease the drudgery that goes with rice farming by developing a tractor-mounted rice transplanter and mini-combine harvester.

He said PhilMech has also produced other technologies in which the youth can be involved as entrepreneurs in agriculture such as the coco water extraction-pasteurization system that can transform mature coconut water into refreshing energy drink.

He said the young farmers can also invest in cacao, cashew, soybean and coffee processing system or a multi-commodity solar tunnel dryer-based business enterprise.

“These agribusiness enterprises are good start-up for young agribusiness entrepreneurs as they require low level of investment,” Bingabing said.

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8 Comments

  1. our farmers were the feeder of our nation. kung wala ang farmers sinong magpapakain sa ating mga Pilipino. dapat binibigyan priorities ang ating mga farmers dahil sila ang nagpapakain sa ating bansa.
    just like in america. they respect and give prioirty to their farmers, because they were the FEEDER OF THEIR NATION..
    .dito sa Pinas, they treat farmes as slaves..mga asshole itong mga hacendero ng pilipinas.. hindi pwede sa america ang asal ninyong ganito… dahil sa america alila rin kayo…

  2. Philippine agriculture long term program is for Filipinos to own and cultivate land on an “economic size” farm of five (5) hectares. (Department of Agrarian Reform, DAR’s program to distribute land to landless farmers) Farmers children wishing to go further than their father’s max-peak income in the limited farmland, with an existing parents dilemma on a loan for a kubota tractor or the Toyota Fortuner is very unlikely to be reach, then farming is no longer the answer. Children realizing that there’s only so much you can do to increase the yield of the farm and seeing farming is no longer the answer but to go work overseas.

    • 5 hectares is too small. 15 hectares for a “personal” farm is just about right, and 325 hectares for a corporation is minimum.

    • I was one of the people involved in this study. Sadly, Mr./Ms Blasco, the average farm size of our farmers is only about one hectare. I guess this gives you an idea of how poor our farmers are.

  3. The worst enemy of farmers is the government itself with anti-agriculture policies especially its agrarian reform program.

    Why will our farmers and their children stay in this sector if denies them the opportunity to grow bigger with their 3 hectare retention limit?

    The government is a bunch of hypocrites.

  4. A generation of land reform produced sustenance farming. What incentives do you have for the youth if their lands have been subjected to land reform and divided to small holdings.

    The children of land reform beneficiaries knows that it does not pay to stay in farming. We need mechanization and young people from the agriculture sector go to the service industry and other sectors. There need to be pay raise in the rural worker sector.Land reform program need to end and land consolidation need to start now.

  5. kalibo aklan on

    True because they don’t have succesors, their sons and daughters go abroad or engage in other work.