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FarmSmart empowers PH agriculture‘s digitalization

Nearly a year since the COVID-19 health crisis disrupted the lives of all Filipinos, the pandemic continues to pose challenges to many industries, including the agricultural sector. Roadblocks include the lack of resources and the lack of proper training on ways to improve farming efficiencies and productivity.

DFP links technology-savvy youths with small-holder farmers so that the latter could tap the digital space, and consequently, establish a channel for exchanging ideas—from using modern agricultural technologies, to discovering time-tested farming traditions.
With these in mind, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continues to ramp up FarmSmart initiatives through its flagship Digital Farmers Program. A collaboration with the Department of Agriculture—Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), the program promotes the use of digital technology in farming, and highlights the importance of simultaneous learning among young and seasoned farmers to help bridge the digital divide.

Purposeful use of technology

FarmSmart’s social strategy is to bring the younger and older generation of farmers together in learning about technology and agriculture.

“We make sure that the farmers have a younger companion during training. We partner them together so they can learn along and from each other,” Smart Vice President for Community Partnerships Darwin F. Flores said during an interview on the live online show Tech Sabado. 

“In the process, the younger generation gains a different perspective, and hopefully, gets inspired to go into farming,” Flores added.

To expand the reach of the program, Smart is collaborating with DA-ATI, local agriculture offices, and cooperatives in reaching more farming communities. The organizations are working together to roll out ICT modules through capacity-building sessions with farmers-youth tandems. 

Digitalization amid the pandemic

FarmSmart is using technology to usher smallholder farmers into the digital economy. Through the trainings, farmers are introduced to technology tools that enable them to access essential information in a timely manner and that help improve their productivity. They are also trained on basic mobile photography and videography and social media marketing—designed to help expand their presence and reach in their communities and online to increase their income. 

“If farmers embrace new methods such as browsing the internet to search, or to connect with their community, this brings a new level of ease and convenience. We believe that the future is bright for Philippine agriculture if we use technology,” said Flores.

FarmSmart and other livelihood initiatives are part of PLDT’s commitment to support United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG#1: No Poverty. 

To know more about FarmSmart and other related advocacies, visit FarmSmart PH and Smart Communities on Facebook.

Topics: FarmSmart , Darwin Flores , PLDT , Smart Communications , Department of Agriculture
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