PLDT, Smart Communications (Smart), and the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA) held the first-ever Training of Trainers on Digital Farmers Program participated by farmer-scientists in Calabarzon (provinces in Southern Tagalog — Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon).
“There is still this digital divide in the farming community and our goal is to find solutions to bring technology closer to our farmers and make innovations work for them,” said Kristine Joyce Magadia, lead, Stakeholder Management for Livelihood of PLDT and Smart.
Launched in 2019, the Digital Farmers Program or DFP is a digital literacy training program that aims to help increase the livelihood opportunities of smallholder farmers through Information and Communications Technologies. The program also trains farm owners and farmer-scientists who will be able to help train more farmers in the country.
The three-day training held at the DA-ATI Calabarzon office covered the basics of using a smartphone and the internet and the advantages of e-commerce platforms.
“My experience as a city agriculturist for 39 years only included manual training of farmers and transfer of agricultural technology through books and pamphlets,” said Sixto Arandia, farmer-scientist from Cavite. “I was surprised to see how much a smartphone can do in farming. The possibilities are endless.”
To date, DFP has conducted more than 176 learning sessions and have trained over 4,000 farmers and youth, and more than 100 agri-extension workers across the country.