For an agricultural country like the Philippines, you would expect farming to be a driver of GDP growth. However, in reality, the local agricultural sector contributes a mere 11% compared to the services (57%) and industrial (31%) sectors as of 2014. Interestingly, around one-third of the Filipino workforce is in the agricultural industry. But with a daily wage of Php 256, it is not surprising that this number continues to decline. From 34% in 2009, employment in farming decreased to 31% in 2014 as more young people ditch their rural homelands for higher paying jobs in cities.
It is depressing enough that a large number of our farmers constitutes a significant portion of the poor. What’s even more alarming is the fact that the average age of Filipino farmers is 57. In less than 10 years, they will retire. Who will be left to till our lands and grow our food supply?
To solve this problem, Sproads, a web publishing and app development company based in Metro Manila created an online farming platform called FarmOn.ph. Inspired by the hit game Farmville, the group aims to revive the Filipino’s interest in agriculture and in the process, lend a hand in uplifting the lives of our local farmers.
Upon creating an account, users can experience managing their own farm. They can decide which types of crops will be cultivated and the livestock to be raised. Interestingly, all the action takes place in an actual farm in Isabela and Quirino provinces. Organic farming is the methodology they use. As soon as the users finalize the crops and animals they wish to grow, real farmers do the work for them. The users are notified from the time the seeds are sowed until the products are harvested and sold in the market. Profit sharing between the farmers and the investors takes place making it a win-win situation.
Using technology, FarmOn.ph aims to break the association of poverty with farming. Proof that you can earn well by being a farmer reinforces the idea that farming can be just as lucrative as having a professional career. Furthermore, exposing young people to platforms such as these can build up their interest in agriculture and eventually inspire innovations in this neglected field.
As long as people exist, there will always be a place for food growers like farmers. They form the core of our economy. It’s about time they get paid what they truly deserve.