Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

New app aims to alleviate labor shortage in farming

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday launched a mobile app to match jobseekers with farming jobs in a bid to alleviate the shortage of workers in the agriculture sector.

There are about 780,000 households working in the nation’s agriculture sector, among which 276,127 are defined as key producing units, but the industry is short 267,000 temporary workers and 15,000 regular workers, council data showed.

Farms in central and southern Taiwan are the hardest hit by the labor shortage, with those growing fruits and vegetables requiring more temporary workers during harvest season, the council said.

In central regions, such as Changhua and Yunlin counties, farmers have to vie with manufacturing plants for workers, COA Deputy Minister Lee Tui-chih (李退之) said.

While the council has helped find more than 1,800 workers for 1,500 farms this year, the app would facilitate job matching on a larger scale, Lee said.

Individual farmers, farmers’ associations and agricultural firms are encouraged to post full-time or part-time positions on the app, which lists specific positions for local and foreign students in different categories.

Working as a harvester pays NT$1,120 to NT$1,300 for eight hours per day, amounting to a monthly wage of NT$22,000 to NT$30,000, the app showed.

Foreign students can only work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during school semesters, according to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), COA Department of Farmers’ Service Director-General Chu Chien-wei (朱建偉) said, adding that the restriction does not apply during summer and winter vacations.

In related news, a working holiday program for young people from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand is still being negotiated, Chu said.

The program was supposed to launch a trial run this month.

The Ministry of the Interior has expressed concern about Vietnamese applicants, saying they are more likely to run away from their jobs, Chu said.

If the program could be launched, the app would also provide job offers especially for them, he added.

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