PLDT, Smart, DA-ATI empower more Mindanao rice farmers with DFP

Digital Farmers Program (DFP) trainer discusses smartphone basics, internet access and online safety during the DFP 101 Training in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.
Digital Farmers Program (DFP) trainer discusses smartphone basics, internet access and online safety during the DFP 101 Training in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), continue to enhance the capabilities of rice farmers, particularly in Mindanao, through the Digital Farmers Program (DFP), a partnership with the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI).

Mindanao is known as the food basket of the Philippines mainly because of its rich soil and climate. With the great promise of agri-industrialization and rural development, PLDT and Smart are working with the DA-ATI to help make sure that the farmers themselves will also progress, with the help of digital technology.

“Since PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI launched the Digital Farmers Program, we have heard testimonials from small-holder farmers who have greatly benefited from the digital tools and concepts of DFP 101 and 102, We are hopeful that our ladderized capacity-building program will help improve the lives and livelihood of more farmers around the country, with the help of digital technology,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, Stakeholder Management Team Head at PLDT and Smart.

Through the DFP, farmers and local government technicians from Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) joined in the trainings conducted in Tantangan, South Cotabato, Kabacan, North Cotabato, Tacurong City and Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, and Lala, Lanao del Norte. The trainees learned about digital marketing and the effective use of digital tools to maximize crop yields.

Charlie Pasaquin, a rice farmer from the Midpapan Balogo Communal Irrigators Association, appreciated the training. He shared, “We would like to express our gratitude to PLDT and Smart for supporting the advancement of farming in the country, most especially the digitalization of the agriculture sector.”

Recently, PLDT and Smart also partnered with Mennonite Economic Development Associates to expand the DFP – this time to include cacao farmers and help scale up the local cacao industry.

These PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI initiatives in Mindanao aim to provide farmers with the digital tools and training to improve their farming techniques and increase productivity, and the broader goal of boosting their livelihood. These also support PLDT and Smart’s goal to bridge the digital divide and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), specifically UNSDG No. 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. PR

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