Farmers earn below poverty wages: Villar
Agriculture is still perceived as “unrewarding” because farmers earn lower than poverty threshold incomes per month, Sen. Cynthia Villar said.
Villar, chairwoman of the Senate committee on food and agriculture, lamented during a gathering of agriculture-aquatic research and development stakeholders that farmers earn lower than the poverty threshold of P5,300 per month.
She said an ordinary farmer earns an average of P4,000 a month or P133 per day while the coconut farmer learns even lower at P1,500 a month or P50 a day.
She said the country’s 11.8 million agricultural workers must have access to technologies and must have financial literacy to increase their production and grow their income.
“There is, therefore, a need to help our farmers produce more at lesser cost for them to be competitive,” she added.
Villar said she does not want to accept that the agricultural sector leads the dip in the country’s poverty threshold.
She said the poverty index of Benguet, an agriculture area, is only 2.8 percent.
“The country’s agriculture is not really that unrewarding after all; it is more of the right attitude and the adoption of the right technology,” she said.
Villar said the science department should continue to provide farmers and decision makers with science-based judgments particularly in dealing with the effects of climate change.
She said better technologies, particularly in rice, could lower production cost to P8.50 like in Thailand and P5.50 like in Vietnam.