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May 25, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: business

Agriculture Firms Turn To Automation To Survive Labor Shortage

By ČTK Czech Agriculture

Prague, May 25 (CTK) – A total of 57 percent of agricultural companies have invested in automation and robotisation over the past ten years, according to a survey of Trexima company, with the cooperation of the Agricultural Association and trade unions in the field.

 

Despite such investments, agricultural companies deal with a lack of employees, Agricultural Association head Martin Pycha said adding that companies do not want to invest any more as they would not have people to operate the machinery.

 

There should be cuts in costs thanks to technology, however, Sloupnice agricultural association cannot confirm that, Jaroslav Vanous of the association said. Costs of servicing, maintenance and updates are high.

 

Robotisation in agriculture does not save money but it is necessary as the sector lacks employees, Vanous said.

 

Agriculture is short of 10,000-15,000 workers, Pycha said.

 

Another third of employees can retire within the next decade. Young people will not replace them as only a small part of agricultural schools’ graduates actually go and work in the field, he said.

 

Companies cannot provide good salaries, with agriculture’s median wage being around Kc23,000 in 2016. The Czech Republic’s average wage was Kc31,646 in Q4 2017.

 

Investments are driven by an attempt to improve production and increase effectiveness (72 percent), by trying to keep up with the latest trends (50 percent), and the fact that companies are having difficulties getting suitable employees (almost 20 percent), according to the survey carried out in February and March.

 

A total of 70 percent of companies’ investments go in navigation systems.

 

Workers from Ukraine and Mongolia could help companies, however, their inflow is slow, according to the Agricultural Association.

 

In 2016, the number of people working in agriculture decreased annually by 0.7 percent to 100,200, accounting for 1.9 percent of the overall employment.

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