Shrinking number of farmers a threat to food security, agriculture
(The Freeman) - November 18, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The decreasing number of Filipino farmers may threaten food security and the growth of the agriculture sector, an official warned.

In a recent interview, Joel Elumba, regional technical director at the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas, stressed that farmers in the Philippines and even in the region are dwindling in number due to some factors.

One of these is the rapid urbanization which has allowed housing developments to encroach in municipalities and farming communities, Elumba said.

He added that farm mechanization, although has been beneficial to increase farm productivity through the use of machines, could also be blamed because it also cuts manual labor, thus reducing the demand for farmers.

Farm machinery has replaced many jobs formerly carried out by farmers manually or animals such as oxens, horses and carabaos.

Elumba also admitted that many farmers lack capital investment to further grow their farm business, that's why some of them have chosen to work in the city to earn better income.

Elumba also lamented that many Filipino youth prefer to look for jobs in urban areas rather than see the opportunities in the agriculture industry.

And that has become one of the several human resource development problems faced by the country's farming sector.

The DA official pointed out the dwindling number of farmers will significantly impact the country's food production and food security situation especially that the advent of climate change also poses risks to the sector's growth.

Among the three main sectors of the Philippines economy, agriculture is the most neglected in terms of investments and development.

In fact, the sector's growth contracted by 0.5% as of the second quarter this year.

Elumba explained that more investments are still needed in the sector such as those related to agriculture marketing, consolidation of farming goods, post-harvest facilities, value-added products and farm-to-market road infrastructure, among others.

Apart from investments, there is also a need to improve and promote agricultural courses in the country.

The youth's waning interest in agriculture-related courses has resulted a decrease in the number of enrollees in these courses which are mostly offered by state universities. — Carlo S. Lorenciana (FREEMAN)

AGRICULTURE CARLO S CENTRAL VISAYAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ELUMBA FARM FARMERS JOEL ELUMBA LORENCIANA NUMBER SECTOR
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