PhilMech urges farm workers to form organizations for minimal displacement of labor

ILOILO CITY, Sept 28 (PNA) – – The Philippine Center for PostHarvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is encouraging farm laborers to form organizations or cooperatives to avoid labor displacement as the center pushes for the use of modern technology to address losses.

Under the mechanization program of the Department of Agriculture through PhilMech, farm machineries, production machineries and processing equipment and facilities are given to farmers’ cooperative.

PhilMec Director Rex Bingabing who is here for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on Food Security, said that in mechanization program, instead of giving machineries to the individual farmers, they are encouraged to become farm service providers.

Bingabing pointed out that the farm laborers’ access to modern equipment will lead to minimal displacement of labor.

“We encourage them to group themselves to cooperatives or organization then we will provide them machineries like tractors, transplanter and mechanical harvester,” Bingabing said.

“In effect, they can be termed as professional farmers,” he added.

This program will enable farm laborers to increase their productivity because PhilMech is organizing them as group that would serve from land preparation, planting and harvesting.

“They are more productive because they are managing the machineries,” Bingabing said.

Further, the program was also initiated to address the issue on post-harvest loss.

“The idea is to make them accessible to these new technologies so that they would have better productivity and reduce the losses because they are using more efficient machines in processing,” Bingabing said.

A study was conducted in Nueva Ecija where most of the farmers are using modern machineries and milling equipment. PhilMech found out that loss in rice production can go down to about 10 to 11 percent by simply using the combine harvester and an efficient milling.

However, Bingabing said that a difference of five percent will be gained using traditional method of reaping and threshing.

For corn production which currently has seven percent loss, PhilMech is looking forward to lower it down to five percent through its mechanization program. (PNA)