Leading integrated telco network PLDT Inc (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc (Smart), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), have launched an initiative that aims to provide tech access to farmers, especially in far-flung areas, enabling them to harness technology in pursuit of livelihood.
As part of its Digital Farmers Program (DFP), PLDT and Smart’s award-winning digital inclusion program for farmers in partnership with DA, the telco launched FarmTech, a tech-driven farmers training kit designed to empower and equip farmer groups and agri-coops in their digital literacy training programs for their farmer members even those in remote areas.
Receiving the very first FarmTech packages were two affiliate farm groups, Myriad Farms of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, and Samahan ng mga Pangulo ng Magsasaka of Morong, Rizal.
Each FarmTech package includes a tablet, 10 smartphones, a Smart Bro Pocket Wifi with Smart Prepaid load cards, an outdoor projector and projector screen, a rechargeable portable sound system, a flash drive containing multimedia learning resources and apps, and DA-ATI learning materials.
“There are a lot of apps and digital solutions we can tap and integrate into the DFP. With the help of PLDT and Smart, these can now reach the farthest corners of the Philippines,” said DA-ATI Dir. Remelyn R. Recoter, adding that she is hopeful that FarmTech would play a key role in encouraging farmers to use technology in their livelihood.
Enabling the digitalization of farmers is PLDT and Smart’s integrated fixed and wireless networks across the country. “We at PLDT and Smart continue to invest in our infrastructure to provide meaningful connections to Filipinos across the country, furthering our livelihood and digital inclusion advocacies, especially for the agricultural sector,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, AVP and head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.
“Hand-in-hand with our partners from DA-ATI, we hope to achieve our vision, which is to enable the digital transformation of farmer groups and agri coops all over the country, to build a truly digitally-enabled agriculture sector,” she added.
Part of PLDT and Smart’s long-standing partnership with DA-ATI, FarmTech is the latest addition to DFP, which was established by the PLDT Group and DA-ATI in 2019 to make technology and digital solutions more accessible to Filipino farmers.
Even as a country that relies heavily on its agricultural sector, Filipino farmers are among the commonly marginalized in terms of economics and technology, as many are located in rural areas and unable to pursue further education. Aging farmers also tend to be tech-averse, preferring old-school touchpad phones over smartphones.
Empowering farming communities through digital tools and mobile technologies towards #SustainableAgriculture and #InclusiveGrowth is a key priority of DFP. PLDT and Smart’s efforts to promote inclusive technologies that can help boost livelihood opportunities among farmers and fisherfolk also highlights the Group’s support to the government’s overall digitalization thrust.
This is also in line with the Group’s efforts to help the country achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially UNSDG #1 (No Poverty) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).