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Policy Milestone

Assessment and Analysis of the Effects of the Extensive Use of Mechanization on Farm Labor Use and Patterns: Study in Support for Policy on Sustainable Human Resource Development of the Agriculture Labor Sector


Project Leader:  VA Rodulfo, Jr.

Study Leaders:  ACR Del Rosario and MVL Larona

University Research Associates II: AD Salandanan and MGO Bautista

Funding Agency: Department of Agriculture- Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries

Brief Background and Rationale

The project rationale focused on the need to assess and analyze changes in the labor patterns in the farm, particularly the rearrangements and reassignments to different operations, to determine emerging demands in skill, knowledge and competencies required for the agricultural labor sector. The information to be gathered and analyzed by the project are expected to be used as input to a policy for the  development of a sustainable human resource development program that will address the demands of a mechanized farming sector.

Empirical data available showed that there is a general shift of the labor force from agriculture to the industry and services sector in the country.  To the advocates of industrialization, the labor shift is a good indication of the country’s development towards industrialization. However, with the government program on the extensive distribution and utilization of mechanization, in the past and present government administrations, continued decline in the labor workforce in agriculture could be expected.

Given the scenario, the agriculture sector, through the government, needs to be ready to strengthen its labor force, to be relevant, trained and skilled, competitive, and more productive, given the changing labor situation patterns.  The policy study provided an in-depth study on the current labor use and patterns and provided policy recommendations to formulate policies and programs for a sustainable human resources development of the agricultural labor force



The general objective of the study was to assess and analyze the current status of the farm labor use and patterns as a result of the extensive mechanization as input for policy on sustainable human resource development of farm labor. Specifically, the project was able to:

  • Determine baseline information on the current use of labor for traditional and mechanized farms including cost and return status.
  • Determine and describe farm operations where there are observed changes in labor utilization, relocation, rearrangement and overall utilization patterns.
  • Benchmark the local crop value chains with the most competitive and mechanized crop value chains in Asia and determine labor utilization patterns and human resource development programs for the farming sector particularly on mechanization.
  • Determine policy and human resource development gaps and issues that have been identified in the baseline assessment and farmer surveys; and
  • Recommend key policy interventions that will plug the gap in labor utilization, relocation and redistribution and establish a sustainable human resource development program for labor in the agricultural sector.


Policy Recommendations:

The following policy recommendations were formulated by the project:


Policy Recommendation No. 1

The existing pool of landless farm workers shall be encouraged to organize into formal groups duly recognized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) or Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The recognition by DA or DOLE will allow the landless farm workers to directly benefit from government subsidies and programs. These government subsidies and programs for the underprivileged sector may be designed and formulated by the DA and/or DOLE. Their organization will form part of institutional support needed to guarantee the welfare of farm workers. The farm worker groups may also serve as counterparts to farmers associations within their localities and provide the necessary human capital input for farm activities.


Policy Recommendation No. 2  

Continuous learning and development activities, whether formal (such as trainings and scholarship programs) or non-formal, should be made available to the agricultural farm labor sector.  Article III, Sec. 12 of the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization (AFMech) Law (RA 10601) indicates the need for training of agricultural extension workers and agricultural engineers of the LGUs. They shall, in turn, serve as trainers for farmers and fisherfolks on agricultural mechanization technologies and practices. These training and scholarship programs should also be extended to farm workers.


Policy Outputs

  • Adoption of policy recommendation on the organization of Landless Farmers through the DA-PCAF Resolution No. 1. S. 2021 and DA S.O. no. 523 S. 2021
  • The Task Force is currently chaired by BIOMECH-CEAT
  • Policy Brief on the Assessment and Analysis of the Effects of the Extensive Use of Mechanization on Farm Labor Use and Patterns: Study in Support for Policy on Sustainable Human Resource Development of the Agriculture Labor Sector