‘AGRI’ Expands Reach of Digital Finance Services for Farmers

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Smart Communications’ Jill Lava discusses the various digital finance platforms offered through KasamaKa.

BUTUAN CITY, Agusan del Norte—Farmers can now avail themselves of digital micro-financing services through the Accelerated Growth and Rural Inclusion (AGRI) platform of FINTQnologies Corp. (FINTQ).

AGRI is the latest feature of FINTQ’s KasamaKA initiative, a grassroots-based, bottom-up, and multi-sectoral social advocacy program for inclusive growth. This platform aims to provide small farmers and fishers easier access to affordable financing to help increase their productivity and expand their connections to markets.

Specifically, AGRI is an end-to-end farm-to-marketplace digital agricultural value chain platform connecting producers to consumers. It includes digital financial services through the ‘Lendr’ platform, digital commerce through a marketplace, and cost-effective logistics infrastructure management.

The combined program and platform is being introduced nationwide in collaboration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Agriculture (DA), various local government unit associations, and other private sector institutions such as the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines.

Recently, FINTQ met with representatives from DA’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) to promote the service and identify possible areas of collaboration to ensure its wider reach.

Also, in a briefing with the ATI’s Information Services (IS) group, Smart Communications, Inc. Public Affairs Manager, Jill Lava, and her team talked about the different micro-finance platforms offered through KasamaKa that farmers can also access.

KasamaKa’s Microsavings platform allows the opening of basic deposit account for as low as PhP20 at any sari-sari store, while Microinsurance provides affordable access to insurance through mobile phone for also as low as PhP20.

Meanwhile, Microinvestment gives access to affordable investment products for as low as PhP50. Lastly, Lendr offers credit for lower interest rates as compared to informal lending channels.

This year, the team also launched the Financial Inclusion Caravan to further reinforce the financial literacy in the country by educating Filipinos the value of having an insurance. Lava said, “Small-scale farmers and fishers who do not have much financially are our target for this program. We want to help them help themselves.”

FINTQ is the financial technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations. They aim to promote and increase inclusive digital finance in the country by deploying various platforms to extend access to financial products and services to the unbanked and underserved segment. This is in support to the government’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion.

The briefing for ATI’s IS group was held during the 2nd Knowledge Management Updates on September 11 in this city.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.