The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged greater diversification of production and processing of by-products in agriculture sector to be able to create more decent, productive and sustainable jobs for Filipinos.
“One of the main challenges of the country is the seasonality of agricultural employment. Therefore, greater diversification of agricultural production and further processing of by-products should be encouraged,” the NEDA officer in charge and deputy director general, Emmanuel Esguerra, recently said.
The latest Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office showed the decline in employment in the agriculture sector contributed largely to the drop in the overall employment rate. The employment rate went down to 92.5 percent from last year’s rate of 93.1 percent.
The number of employment in agriculture and agriculture-related activities registered a loss of 624,000, declining from 12.468 million in April 2012 to 11.844 million in April 2013.
The NEDA cited a Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) report, which said that natural phenomenon and calamities affected agriculture activities in the last quarter of 2012.
The BAS reported that farmers were hesitant to plant amid the impending El Niño phenomenon, while others were still recovering from the losses incurred from typhoons Pablo and Quinta during the fourth quarter of 2012.
“Employment is bound to be adversely affected in times of natural disaster. Thus, it is also imperative for government to design a more effective disaster response system,” the NEDA official said.
The BAS said that inadequate water supply and intense heat, aside from changes in cropping patterns, are expected to result in lower agriculture output for April to June 2013