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Cacao farmers in Davao soon to go Digital

Davao City—The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) welcomed a new partnership opportunity to help cacao farmers in Davao region embrace digital farming through the Digital Farmers Program (DFP).

During the 2024 Cacao Business Forum: Tapok-Tapok sa Kakaw Piyesta, the ATI officially launched its commitment with PLDT-Smart, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)-Philippines, and Cacao Industry Development Councils from Davao Region and Davao City to support around 5,000 cacao farmers in the region.

MEDA is an international economic development organization that leverages partnerships and collaboration to advance social enterprises, including agri-food market systems, that are positively impacting social, environmental, and governance challenges in communities.

For ATI’s and PLDT-Smart’s part, a series of DFP 101 and 102 Training of Trainers will be implemented, capacitating select members of partner cooperatives on the basics of smartphone and internet as well as select agriculture-related applications, social media marketing, and e-commerce. This effort, through the ATI Regional Training Center (RTC) XI and PLDT-Smart Mindanao Team, intends to prepare the members in implementing the DFP Farm Learn component in their respective organizations.

Moreover, the ATI will co-develop a DFP 103 Module focused on environmentally sustainable agriculture practices and climate-smart agriculture in cacao farming enterprises.

During the forum, ATI Assistant Director Antonieta Arceo gave an overview among members of cacao cooperatives on what is in store for them under the partnership. Meanwhile, to complement the DFP training sessions, PLDT-Smart donated smartphones and connectivity devices to cacao cooperatives, giving them access to technology for their farming needs and interactive materials to help promote sustainable agriculture and economic development.

“Equipping farmers with digital tools, knowledge and sustainable farming practices will not only empower them to grow their businesses but also allow them to make even greater contributions to the region’s agricultural sector,” noted Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Stakeholder Management.

Also present in the activity were ATI RTC XI Director Alicia Rose Nebreja and representatives from Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office XI, Department of Trade and Industry Davao Regional Office, Davao City local government, and Government of Canada.

The forum, held last March 22, 2024 in Malagos, Davao City, aimed to gather various agriculture stakeholders to foster collaboration and explore opportunities for business growth within the cacao industry. (By Angelica Marie T. Umali, DA-ATI)

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