ONE of the main reasons why our agricultural sector is backward and its productivity low compared to neighboring countries is the minimal adoption of modern machinery in our farms. Our agricultural mechanization intensity is around 2.7 per hectare, less than half of Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

If machines are not harnessed, this means that labor will have to substitute. It is no wonder then that in rice farming, labor constitutes 37 percent of the total production cost. This is not to mention that our farm labor cost is much higher than in a number of Southeast Asian countries and also in India.

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