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May 29, 2020

Mechanized farming quickest way to tackle labor shortage

Due to pest attacks and the impact of climate change, farmers have recorded lower output from rain-fed paddy fields this year. Besides, a lower price for paddy has been another blow to farmers.
Hence, farmers have now pinned their hopes on summer crops, especially summer paddy, grown using irrigation water. Farmers are confident that cultivation using irrigation water, which is considered a nutrient for paddy plants, will ensure a high yield.
For growing summer paddy using irrigation water, farmers have to make preparations, including ploughing and sowing, while irrigation water is flowing into their farmland. However, shortage of farm workers is a huge challenge for farmers.
In some areas, farmer operations are cancelling plans. Labor shortages are adding to the stress on farmers.
How can the sector take advantage of the opportunity if this situation persists?
Without an adequate number of experienced workers in the field, farmers cannot plant or harvest crops.
Myanmar is facing some challenges, including a shortage of farm labor, while making efforts for modernizing the agricultural sector. There are several ways to resolve farming issues. Mechanized farming is one method to overcome manual labor shortage, which is a major problem in the country.
While the government is devoting its time to modernize the country’s agriculture sector, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is making efforts to promote modernized and sustainable production techniques, packaging systems, and marketing strategies, with a view to meet the demand from home and abroad.
Myanmar’s agriculture sector still depends on manual labor, but generates the lowest income per person. Many agricultural workers have changed occupations and left the sector completely to secure more stable incomes, and this could develop into a long-term challenge that could affect the production of agricultural products and food in the country.
Modernizing the agriculture sector is the fastest way to reduce the incidence of poverty, tackle labor shortage, enhance labor capacity, and increase efficiency.
Mechanized farming can not only help resolve labor shortage by making the workers that remain much more productive, it can also ensure a stable quantity and quality of production. This means a better and more stable income for farmers.
Practicing modernized farming with machinery and shifting from traditional to modern agricultural practices with the use of technology, information, and communications technology for production and marketing would ensure that a new generation returns to the farmland.
Good production would mean good income for farmers. We need to create opportunities for them.

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