It sharpens labor shortage in agriculture
May 27, 2013, Chile.
Flor Vasquez Gomez
The labor shortage in agriculture in the conditions of Chile is a problem that becomes complicated every year, during the last two to three years there have been serious difficulties in this situation. There are some crops in which the problem can be faced with mechanization and actually doing the collection of nuts or fruits for the industry. However, there are fruits not resist mechanization and they need people in the field. We must face this issue. To improve water use, irrigater productivity and increase the efficiency of surface irrigation has sought to incorporate innovations to save water, have to be more efficient, the pulse irrigation system is more uniform, you can save 25 percent water.
The labor shortage in agriculture is a problem that will go complicating every year. This was stated by the president of the Farmers Federation Cachapoal Chile, Francisco Duboy, adding that over the past two to three years there have been serious difficulties in this situation. He explained that there are some cultures in which the problem can be faced with mechanization and in fact is being done in crops such as dried fruit or fruit for the industry. However, there are fruits not resist mechanization and they need people in the field. Duboy, added: We must face this issue. I understand there have been some problems with people who have been brought or who have come from abroad to work in the agricultural season. For example, I knew of a case in which Talca was bringing undocumented people, making use and abuse of those people.
President Cachapoal Farmers Federation, said that as a trade association made an investigation and the truth is that a good portion of the people who come, have problems in their country of origin, problems of crime and other . Not all who come from the outside, but a percentage, forcing waste time investigating. I think we should organize, I got a proposal from a company in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which offered to bring people with all their papers in order. That could be an alternative, as Europeans do, bring people only harvest time. I think that is a way to explore.
In this regard, the Seremi of Agriculture, Mauricio Donoso said that, indeed, there are problems in agriculture by the labor shortage. Measures to address this situation mentioned being made cherry orchards, which implies low the cherry, whose harvest requires a lot of labor. Lowering the height of these fruits, they are more accessible to the employee and is easier harvesting. However, this does not solve the labor shortage for farming. Donoso suggests that an alternative is that the accused, after evaluation, are given the opportunity to work in the field. We are working with the Ministry of Justice and Gendarmerie in the feasibility of putting prisoners to work on agriculture. I see it as a great alternative, which also allows you to insert those people. As for the option of bringing workers from abroad, said that this issue is being with the Ministry of Interior. We must find solutions because there have been many problems due to lack of people.
Regarding the option of hiring inmates to work in the agricultural season, Duboy said: did you ever attempt years ago, but it is not easy to work with inmates, criminal and bring them out of the packing, although it made an evaluation of prisoners, equal means be guarded and that tends to transform the garden or in an enclosure packing criminal rather than a workplace. I think you can provide work for inmates, but in the place of detention, where they already have woodworking shops and others.
The leader reiterated that mechanization is a good alternative to using less labor, but the problem is that it serves only to some crops and is also aimed at large commercial farmers who can invest in the purchase of machinery. Small and medium producers are unlikely to buy these machines, unless associate. He added that the machines have been successful pruning. To Duboy, a good alternative to the labor shortage in agriculture is to bring workers from other countries, as regulated, for a given period. This is not unusual in the world, in the United States and Europe this type of work in the field do immigrants.
In relation with the problems of climate change and drought, said Mauricio Donoso Seremi is taking several measures, short, medium and long term. Among the short-term measures have made three regional irrigation laws, added that in the medium term we are investigating irrigation systems to help us minimize water usage. This region irrigates 215,000 hectares of the 600 million hectares of agricultural potential. The seventh region irrigates 320,000 hectares.
To improve water use, irrigater productivity and increase efficiency irrigation has sought to incorporate innovations. He has worked on the research topic. For example, of the 215 000 hectares are irrigated in the region, about 40 000 are corn. In maize is primarily used two irrigation systems: furrow irrigation and irrigation tended. Both are inefficient. He stressed that to save water have to be more efficient. There is an irrigation system that is widely used in the United States and in Brazil, called pulse irrigation. Works by a sleeve that is placed on the heads of the row, is opening valves will advancing the water and cut. Saturate the top few centimeters of soil, cut, opens again, avance, water passes over and no deep. With pulse system, the irrigation is more uniform, can save 25 percent water;