Bridging the Digital Divide: PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI’s FarmTech Initiative Paves the Way for Filipino Farmers

In an innovative stride towards sustainable agriculture and inclusive growth, PLDT Inc., together with its wireless arm, Smart Communications, Inc., and the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), has unveiled a pioneering technology access initiative aimed at empowering Filipino farmers, especially those in remote areas. This collaboration marks a significant leap in integrating technology with agriculture, offering new horizons for livelihood enhancement among the country’s farming communities.

A Tech Lifeline for the Agrarian Sector

The initiative, part of the Digital Farmers Program (DFP), introduces FarmTech, a comprehensive farmers training kit designed to bolster digital literacy among farmer groups and agricultural cooperatives. This initiative is not just a step but a giant leap forward in equipping the agrarian sector with the necessary tools to thrive in the digital age. The first recipients, Myriad Farms of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, and Samahan ng mga Pangulo ng Magsasaka of Morong, Rizal, symbolize the beginning of a nationwide movement towards digital empowerment in agriculture.

Each FarmTech package is a treasure trove of digital tools, including a tablet, smartphones, Smart Bro Pocket Wifi with prepaid load cards, an outdoor projector and screen, a portable sound system, a flash drive with multimedia resources and apps, along with DA-ATI learning materials. This kit represents a holistic approach to digital education, ensuring that even the most remote farming communities can access cutting-edge agricultural knowledge and technologies.

The Digital Transformation Vision

DA-ATI Director Remelyn R. Recoter sees FarmTech as a pivotal element in encouraging farmers to integrate technology into their livelihoods. This sentiment is echoed by Stephanie V. Orlino, AVP and head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart, who underscores the commitment to investing in infrastructure that connects Filipinos nationwide, thereby advancing the livelihood and digital inclusion of the agricultural sector.

This initiative is a testament to the powerful synergy between PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI, aiming for a digitally-enabled agricultural sector that can lead to sustainable development and inclusive growth. It’s a vision of transforming the agrarian landscape through digital tools, where every farmer is empowered to achieve greater productivity and efficiency.

Addressing the Challenges

The Philippine agricultural sector, despite being a backbone of the economy, faces significant challenges, including marginalization in economics and technology. The issue is further compounded by the demographic of aging farmers who are often resistant to adopting new technologies, preferring traditional methods over the potential benefits of digital solutions.

FarmTech, and the broader Digital Farmers Program, seeks to overturn these obstacles by making technology and digital solutions more accessible to Filipino farmers. Launched in 2019 by the PLDT Group and DA-ATI, DFP has been a beacon of hope, aiming to bridge the digital divide and foster a culture of innovation and efficiency in the agricultural sector.

A Commitment to Sustainable Development

The endeavors of PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI align with the broader objectives of the Philippine government’s digitalization efforts and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those aiming to eradicate poverty and promote decent work and economic growth. By empowering farming communities with digital tools and mobile technologies, these efforts are paving the way towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for agriculture in the Philippines.

Looking Ahead

The launch of FarmTech underlines a shared commitment to the digital transformation of the agricultural sector in the Philippines. It represents a step forward in the journey towards sustainable agriculture and economic growth, ensuring that Filipino farmers are not left behind in the digital era. As this initiative unfolds, it promises to unlock new opportunities for farmers, enhancing their livelihoods and contributing to the nation’s overall prosperity.

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