Farm chief says conditional transfer program reducing number of farmers
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol has raised concerns over the declining number of farm workers as he blamed the government's conditional cash transfer program for this situation.
In a recent interview, Pinol said he has been receiving reports from the field farmers were complaining because they lack workers during planting and harvesting seasons.
"Our problem is we are affected by the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program). No one wants to harvest. That's the feedback from the field. The farmers are complaining that there are not enough farm workers in the field anymore. Everyone wants to play pusoy, tong-its (cards)," Pinol said.
The 4Ps, or conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, gives cash grants to the poorest of the poor so they can improve health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18.
The 4Ps has two types of cash grants for household-beneficiaries: health grant with P500 per household every month, or a total of P6,000 every year; and education grant with P300 per child every month for ten months, or a total of P3,000 every year (a household may register a maximum of three children for the program)
For a households with three children, a household may receive P1,400 every month, or a total of P15,000 every year for five years, from the two types of cash grants given to them.
There are 11 million children aged 18 below who are members of the Pantawid Pamilya households, the social welfare department said.
Pinol said he raised his concern to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, saying there were farm workers who were beneficiaries of the CCT who "are just waiting for the allocation."
The social welfare department has yet to reply on Pinol's concern. With the situation in the agriculture sector, Pinol stressed the need to mechanize this sector. Celerina Monte/DMS