MY ATTENTION was caught by an article from a national broadsheet which discussed the plight of farmers in the country today, particularly on their diminishing numbers and the hardships by the ones who are left with no choice except to stay as farmers.
According to the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), there is this exodus of local food producers from the fields to cities or urban areas to engage into other forms of livelihood for the past years.
This is anchored on the sad truth that the money they earn from farming is not enough to feed hungry mouths and they need to look for other sources of living.
Most agriculture workers are migrating to relatively higher-paying such as in construction, processing and retail, manufacturing, transportation, among others.
Although these kind of jobs does not make them necessarily rich, they pay wages higher than that in farming. In addition, wages-based jobs are more stable and substantially permanent rather than tending to crops that are affected by the season.
Many jeepney and tricycle drivers were once farmers who try it out to make a living in transporting passengers which pay immediately.
In farming, one farmer has to wait for the crop season to yield their earnings.
Wage earners in other industries other than farming can have their small but sure earnings every 15th and 30th of the month or every two weeks. Although some have small wages, these earners are assured of food on their tables for their families.
It’s quite ironic that those who are in the food-producing sector are the ones who can make both ends meet.
Well of course, they can always plant vegetables for their family’s consumption. However, there are other expenses in a family that needs money.
We cannot blame farmers and other farm workers from changing their paths due to small income they earn from farming since their earnings are based on their kind and quantity of their crops. In such, their earnings also pose risks such as pests, infestations, inundations or typhoons.
Like the professionals such as our nurses, doctors, engineers and others who seek greener pastures abroad, farmers are also migrating from their work to other kinds all in the name of having a more stable income that farming does not offer most of the time.
In addition to the reasons why farmers are shifting from their line of work to others is the dwindling number of farmlands which are converted into subdivisions, malls and other commercial or industrial establishments.
Sad to say, the conversion of farmlands is made easy today with the number of investors “invading” our country.
The advent of farming technology has likewise left many farmers or farm workers with lesser opportunities.
The “kurimaw” or the machine that harvest, thresh and sort palay and that is rented by some farm owners is making farm workers jobless. Since the process of harvesting is being automated by technology, there is no need for farm workers to do the job.
With the fate of farmers now in darkness, they are groping in the dark and are slowly being left with no other recourse except to find shelter in other jobs.
They may not be earning that high but the income is surer to come as compared to their previous farming activities.
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