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Examining productivity challenges of aging agriculture labor

31 May 2023

An online workshop on the Aging Agricultural Labor Population was jointly organized by the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, ROC; China Productivity Center; and APO Secretariat, 10–12 May. The workshop examined government policies, schemes, and measures to deal with aging issues in the agriculture sector, analyzed specific challenges faced by APO members, and shared best practices for benchmarking and references.

Labor productivity plays a pivotal role in agricultural production, directly influencing the efficiency and profitability of farming operations. A 2020 report by the ADB highlighted major concerns in both developed and developing APO members, including the ROC, India, Indonesia, Japan, the ROK, and the Philippines, citing serious implications of aging farmers, such as labor shortages, diminished productivity, rural depopulation, and decreased food security. Local governments, communities, and the private sector are making efforts to empower the elderly and encourage young people to establish sustainable, inclusive agri-based rural communities. However, more attention and combined efforts are required to address and overcome political and technological barriers.

Thirty participants from 11 APO members attended the workshop, facilitated by two resource persons from the ROC and one each from Indonesia, Thailand, and the UK. They gave presentations on topics pertaining to the aging population from various viewpoints, such as demographic research and analysis, national policies, and case studies in the ROC, Indonesia, and Thailand. The workshop served as a dynamic platform for group discussions where participants analyzed issues and brainstormed to propose solutions based on their newly acquired insights.

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