THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will hire technical experts as interns as part of an agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in order to address the need for more agriculture professionals, the Labor department said.

In a statement Sunday, the DoLE said the memorandum of agreement will result in the hiring of “hundreds of technical and agricultural biosystems engineers and graduates” by the DA in order to “fill the gap in the demand for the professions in agriculture.”

DoLE said these professionals will be employed under the Government Internship Program, running three to six month, with interns to be paid the prevailing minimum wage in their regions.

According to data from the Bureau of Local Employment, around 1,000 new agricultural and biosystems engineering graduates are expected to enter the labor market. The bureau also reported hard-to-fill jobs in agricultural economics, animal husbandry, aquaculture, among others.

DoLE said many professionals “prefer to work abroad, seek higher pay or have problems with work schedule or location.”

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said addressing the demand for manpower in the agribusiness sector will help eradicate poverty in the agriculture industry.

“From the labor and employment perspective, the development of the rural sector is crucial first step for the country to provide more and better jobs for the poor. Three quarters of the poor are found in the rural areas and agriculture employs most of the poor, which means agriculture plays a key role in efficiently reducing poverty,” he said in the statement. — Gillian M. Cortez