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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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PLDT, Smart leverage technology, strengthening Mindanao food security

PLDT and Smart Communications. Inc. (Smart)  further leverage on technology, helping drive food security efforts in Mindanao, through Digital Farmers Program (DFP) and PlantSmart, supporting urban households, youth, Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities, and farmers.

“Through programs like DFP and PlantSmart, we can use digital technology to help improve livelihood and food security,” said Kristine Magadia, Stakeholder Management Lead for Livelihood of PLDT and Smart.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Technology Institute (DA-ATI), the DFP has trained 808 farmers in Mindanao with basic digital knowledge and e-commerce. PLDT and Smart with DA-ATI also partnered with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates to expand DFP in Davao region to benefit local cacao farmers starting next year.

As a form of sustainable gifting, the Group distributed 900 PlantSmart planting kits to schools, households, and government institutions in Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, and Basilan. Complemented by the Kalye Mabunga online learning series, these kits enable home gardening among communities, in collaboration with youth agriculture groups, such as the Kagay-anon Youth Network Alliance, University of Southern Philippines of Science and Technology’s (USTP) Gulayan sa Kabalayan, and AgriTaBay.

Angelie Collera, USTP’s Head for Center for Human Development, said, “We thank Smart for these materials that will help our urban gardeners to become more capable and confident, resulting in a more abundant harvest in their gardens.”

Collaborating with non-government organization Kids Who Farm (KWF), six PlantSmart GrowHubs or edible gardens have flourished in Bukidnon schools through generous sponsors, including PLDT and Smart executive Debbie Tan and her friends. Apart from educating IP youth in farming, KWF also trained them on basic digital marketing, inspiring learners to view agriculture as a viable livelihood.

Maydene Demesana, KWF’s lead volunteer, shared, “The PlantSmart GrowHub has had a profound impact on the community, especially the youth, instilling a new appreciation for agriculture. This has also improved food production, ensuring healthier meals for the students, faculty and scholars.”

The PlantSmart GrowHubs in PLDT’s Makati and Cagayan de Oro offices continue to thrive, through the care of employee volunteers.

These initiatives are aligned with the Group’s commitment to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #1: No Poverty, #2: Zero Hunger, #3: Good Health and Well-Being, #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and #12 Responsible Consumption and Production.

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