Analytics and Counseling of Human Resource in Rural Community in Southwest Taiwan
Lee, Y. C. and C. F. Tai
Agricultural labor shortage has become an increasingly serious problem in Taiwan. Seasonal labor shortage in particular lays great impact on agricultural industry regarding the practical needs of regional agricultural operations management. Many farmers’ associations among towns, villages and districts in Taiwan have established agricultural service corps to promote activation of rural labor market since 2014. The present study conducted a two-year questionnaire survey. During the first year we examined the labor demands focusing on agricultural subsectors with lowest level of mechanization, maximal crop cultivation area or production value by investigating seasonal labor shortage for growing and harvesting fruit trees and vegetables. During the second year we examined the rural agricultural labor utilization approaches of farmers’ associations among towns, villages and districts in southwest Taiwan by surveying agricultural employers, employees, and the responsible officers of farmers’ associations. Then based on survey results, we analyzed the current agricultural labor demand in southwest Taiwan and the strategies used for labor activation and management. The survey results in 2014 showed a labor shortage of manpower and skill demand in fruit tree and vegetable sectors, including the maximal demands for bagging of mango fruits in May, harvesting pomelos in August, planting pineapples in November, transplanting head lettuce from October to February, harvesting cherry tomato from December to January, week control and asparagus harvesting from April to May. The survey results in 2015 were summarized as follows: During farming seasons, the employers hired mainly friends or relatives as temporary workers, followed by calling assistance from farmers’ association for manpower deployment. No restrictions were placed on hiring employees regarding area or nationality. The employees preferred working and living in the same town or village for convenience. The employees with training experience in agricultural service corps had a slight increase of average daily wage from NTD 944 to NTD 1,008. The success rate of matching employers and employees via farmers’ associations was above 80%, indicating that the farmers’ associations have earned recognition of the employers and employees for their role and service quality in seasonal labor scheduling solutions. In conclusion, about 80% of the responding employers and employees expressed willingness to continue participating in the human resources matching and educational training activities held by the farmers’ associations, and they expected that the government will provide insurance subsidies to improve the safety of farm workers. In addition, the employers, employees and farmers’ associations had different opinions on the policies of importing foreign agricultural workers advocated by the government. The employers showed greater acceptance of importing foreign workers than the local employees and farmers’ associations. It is recommended that the relevant authorities develop labor activation strategies catering to the practical needs of agricultural employers and employees, such as providing trainings of practical farming skills, as well as make good use of the negotiation role of farmers’ associations that serves as a bridge of communication.
What is already known on this subject?
Agricultural labor shortage can partly solved by traditional labor hiring method or through the assistance of labor ministry to encourage people to work on farms.
What are the new findings?
We use a questionnaire for the survey and analysis of farm labor shortage in different kinds of works, different reasons, and different districts as well as the quantity they need. The problems and intention for hiring foreign farm labors can also be understand.
What is the expected impact on this field?
The information can be used as a data-base for a platform to supply farm labors or to be used as a reference
to hire foreign farm labors.
Key words: Manpower, Agriculture labor, Seasonal
Accepted for publication: August 25, 2016