“Mechanized” farming is what the Philippines needs to compete with neighboring countries in the world market.
This developed as Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. put to rest farmers' fears that machines will displace them if introduced as tools in the agricultural sector for the country to attain full farming modernization.
Sen. Bongbong, member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, saw the need for the adoption of modern farming to prepare the farmers for the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) set to be implemented next year, which will remove all tariffs on agricultural products of ASEAN member-countries.
ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic organization composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
“Sa 2015 papasok na ‘yung Asean-Afta. Ibig sabihin we will be competing with Vietnam, Thailand and Korea sa rice production. Hindi tayo makakapag-compete kung ‘yung mga style natin sa pagtatanim ay 1960s o 1970s pa,” Sen. Bongbong said.
He said the government should start modernizing the Filipino farmers’ technique and train them to use new technologies and modern facilities that simplify effort but produced maximum yields in order to make them competitive in the global market with their counterparts in the Southeast Asian region.
“Sa panahon ngayon, the name of the game is globalization, global market and global competition, lalo na sa mga agreement na ganyan (Afta). Mechanization is one of the best and necessary parts in increasing the efficiency of our farmers,” he said.
Sen. Bongbong said the agricultural machineries will never replace the farmers, but will even improve their production.
“Magbabago lang siguro ang kanilang magiging trabaho, imbes na nagtatanim sila ng de-kamay kagaya ng manu-mano noon, they will operate machines. Imbes na nagtityaga silang magpatuyo ng palay at mais sa basketball court, they will use modern facilities,” the senator said.
He added: “We need the best systems and best farming approach with the most environmentally-friendly kind of system for us to be competitive globally, or even just with our neighboring ASEAN countries.”