Bridging the gap between farmers and new technology towards a more competitive agriculture industry, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) launched the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) in partnership with Smart Communications Inc.
DFP aims to promote the use of ICT technology in farming to increase agricultural production and income. Likewise, the program serves as an avenue for the youth to imbibe agriculture as it engages them to take part in the series of DFP courses.
In the Davao region, DFP has started to turn simple farmers into tech-savvy agripreneurs, as ATI RTC XI kicked-off the first DFP 101 training on October 27, 28, 29, 2020, held at ATI-RTC XI, Datu Abdul Dadia, Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Fifteen (15) pairs of Learning Site for Agriculture (LSA) and School for Practical Agriculture (SPA) co-operators and youths attended the one-day training. Five duos were trained per day to adhere to the protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
DFP Trainers, Olivia D. Gatus, Training Center Superintendent I, and Assel M. Mapayo, Information Officer II, discussed to the participants the DFP 101 lessons on Smartphone 101, Basic Agri Apps, Accessing the Internet, Social Media Marketing, and Internet Safety and Security.
With the assistance of youth counterparts, the farmers were able to connect to the internet, navigate social media sites Facebook and YouTube, and download Payong Pag-asa, Accuweather, and GPS Fields Area Measure applications. They also visited ATI national and regional websites as well as created their accounts for ATI e-Learning.
Subsequently, the participants posted their farm products on their Facebook group and Facebook Marketplace.
Cherrylin Casuga, the owner of Casuga Integrated Farm School, one of the participants, said that the training taught them to embrace new technology, innovation, and online digital platforms as a way of life. "We learned that we should use these platforms in good use to grow our business relationship and community engagement", she added.
Daniel Aguinaldo of Mea Natural Farm said, “The training is very important in the operation of our learning site, especially on promotion and product selling despite this pandemic."
ATI-RTC XI will conduct more DFP trainings next year.