By Vina Medenilla

The unemployment rate in the country has been rapidly increasing during the pandemic. This left many Filipino workers jobless, while low-income families suffer from food inflation.

As the quarantine protocols ease up and COVID-19 vaccination starts rolling out, many business establishments have resumed their operations. In April 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a lower unemployment rate compared to April 2020, but still higher than March 2021.

Some laborers may have regained jobs over the past few months, but millions of Filipino workers remain unemployed, underemployed, or under contractual work. 

Recently, a company hired its local third-party labor force as full-time employees in an effort to abide by the government’s initiative to decrease third-party employment contracts

FMC Corporation is an American agricultural sciences company that offers crop protection products and technologies to farmers worldwide. Since 2012, FMC has also been strengthening its presence in the Philippines through its local subsidiary, FMC Agro Philippines Inc or FMC Philippines. 

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic over the past year, FMC Corporation continues to engage and grow in the Philippine market by bringing forth innovative solutions to Filipino farmers.

Last June 24, 2021, the company announced its local workforce expansion to upskill and up its game in making new products and technologies. 

They completed the recruitment of 130 employees after offering full-time employment to their former third-party workers composed of field technicians, supervisors, and more. 

“Having an in-house field force, with in-depth knowledge of the crop protection industry and a  strong understanding of customer needs, will be a real game changer for us. It will greatly improve our business agility and operations, and allow us to further enhance our service to customers and the farming community,” said Veronica Tiburcio, country manager for FMC Philippines.  

Inclusivity in the workplace

Being in the male-dominated industry, FMC’s expansion also highlights their first time to appoint full-time female field technicians in the country.

“We can now better manage training and development, and accelerate employee growth by providing them the knowledge and skills they need to advise and support farmers, especially when farmers are facing challenges from the ongoing pandemic,” Tiburcio added.  

Serving farming communities

For the past five years, FMC strives to help farming communities where they operate through initiatives like donation and medical missions. 

FMC Learning Centres (FLC) are also available across the Philippines, which serve as learning venues that teach about good agricultural practices and sustainable farming to Filipino growers. 

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash.

In 2019, FMC Philippines initiated a campaign “200 Cavan Challenge” where selected farmers were given a chance to increase their yields using FMC products, while also applying good agricultural practices on their farms.

Tiburcio said, “Through programs like this, we help many Filipino farmers realize that we can improve our rice production with the right technology and proper rice production management.”

Recently, FMC Philippines is also the first company to be granted conditional approval for its drone product by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA). FMC plans to commercialize its drone spray in the country by the fourth quarter of 2021. 

Compared to the hand-held sprayer, the use of drones will be more efficient since these can easily reach tall crops and wet fields, thereby accurately treating plants with the right dosage, yet with less physical labor and exposure to chemicals.