The government’s program to mechanize several aspects of rice production in Narra, the province’s main rice-producing region, have prompted displaced traditional agricultural workers to organize themselves into an associate and avail of government assistance.
Raymundo Imaysay, a rice farmer and founder of the Narra Agricultural Labor Force Association (NALFA), said they are completing their group’s documentation so they can apply for accreditation with the Department of Agriculture and avail of national government assistance.
“Nawawalan sila ng trabaho dahil hindi na kailangan ang maraming agricultural workers sa ngayong, at dito lang sila umaasa sa mga ganitong trabaho tulad ng pang-gagapas,” Imaysay said.
Imaysay said they are organizing to that they can earn as an association and avail of government assistance such as acquiring agricultural equipment for their group.
Luzviminda Laag, manager of Palawan ARC Cooperative Federation (PARCCOFED), said that agricultural laborers have a significant role in rice production, adding that their farmers’ cooperative engaged in rice trading are still dependent on them.
Leonardo Enriquez of the Agricultural Production Coordinating Office –Palawan South (APCOPS) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that there is indeed a scarcity of farm workers especially during harvest season, and the mechanization program pushed by the DA is a way of helping the rice farmers to produce rice with ease and convenience.
“Dati itong mga farm equipment ay binibigay sa mga grupo na may equity (counterpart), pero ngayon it is given for free to organized farmers association,” he said.
Among the equipment provided to farmers associations as part of the farm mechanization includes tractor, rice tracer, harvester and transplanter, according to Enriquez.