STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan — Agri-preneurship, not the call center industry, is the real sunshine industry of the Philippines, according to Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia.
Speaking during the distribution of farm equipment under the Farm Mechanization Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) here on Friday, De Venecia said the call center industry will not be around forever with the coming of newer and more modern technologies that could soon relegate this industry to the back seat.
Farming, however, is here to stay because of the need to produce more food for the continuously growing population of the country, he added.
But de Venecia said farmers must also learn some marketing techniques so they will profit more from their farm products, like for instance positioning their land as demonstration farms where they can showcase agro-tourism and make money out of it, aside from earning from their produce.
Meanwhile, he lauded the farm mechanization program of DA under Secretary Emmanuel Piñol that will help farmers lessen their workload, reduce their production expenses, and boost their production as well as their income.
But on the other hand, he expressed concern about farm workers who would be displaced by farm mechanization as they would no longer be hired to plow the farms, plant and harvest rice and corn, thresh the palay, and perform odd jobs.
He proposed what he called the adoption of a tricky balance so that those displaced by farm mechanization would still earn in other fields by providing them know-how in making and selling rice cakes and other food delicacies, handicrafts, and raising pigs, cattle, chicken and goats.
Also present during the distribution of farming equipment were Movie and Television Rating and Classification Board chairperson Rachel Arenas who represented her mother, Pangasinan Third District Representative Rosemary Arenas; Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Batalla, who represented Governor Amado Espino III; and Michael Morden, who represented Pangasinan Fifth District Rep. Amado Espino Jr.
DA Regional Executive Regional Director Lucrecio Alviar said the farm mechanization was pushed in the past at 50 percent equity from farmers’ associations and cooperatives. It was then reduced to 30 percent and further brought down to 15 percent.
Farm mechanization has continued under President Rodrigo Duterte but DA no longer requires farm associations and cooperatives to put up any equity.
He called on farmers to take care of their farm equipment and adopt a system of sharing to minimize friction among them.
Alviar said the farmers organization need only to keep a log book listing down the names of farmers using the farm equipment, who must pay only a minimal fee for their use, which will accrue to the association.
They can show the log book to DA officials who will soon monitor the uses of these farm equipment, he added.
Distributed were four-wheel tractors, mini-tractors, corn harvester, combined rice thresher and harvesters, power pumps, and corn shellers.
Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Batalla said existing agricultural data shows that Filipino farmers are spending PHP15 to PHP16 to produce one kilo of rice, which they sell at P17 per kilo or a profit of just one peso.
Their counterparts in Thailand and Vietnam are spending P10 to produce one kilo of rice.
With farm mechanization, said Batalla, farmers will reduce their farm expenses, noting that the bulk of their production costs is on labor. (PNA)
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