ILOILO CITY, (PNA) -– The Dept. of Agriculture has allayed fears of mass lay-off by landless farm workers due to rapid mechanization in the rice producing areas of Western Visayas.
DA Regional Director Larry Nacionales said the farm workers, mostly contractual, can always find work in the farms especially now that the harvest season sets in.
However, Nacionales suggested that these farm workers organized themselves into a cooperative to present a united front as professional service providers in the farming industry, especially in the province of Iloilo considered as the rice granary of the region.
Nacionales said an ongoing training is being conducted by his agency for farmers and equipment handlers of heavy farm tractors as the region absorbs the mechanization program.
He said the mechanization program assures almost triple harvests of palay thereby ensuring stable profit for the landowner farmers.
The agriculture farm mechanism act ensures farmer’s profitability with investment on farm heavy equipment and drive tractors such as harvester, reaper and thresher rolled into one.
The completion of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project of the national government in Calinog, Iloilo will signal the full implementation of the mechanization program in Iloilo as the P11.2 billion peso river project assures year round irrigation water for additional 25,000 hectares devoted to rice production in 21 municipalities of the province.
Nacionales said the farmer service providers need not be afraid of losing work as agriculture is mostly manual labor.
Other efforts can be divided to inland and municipal fishing, hog and poultry raising and backyard livestock raising, vegetable and fruit production.