Baybay farmers take steps towards digital farming

Baybay City, Leyte – “I still use an old keypad mobile phone until now”, reveals Eliseo Ilocando, a 70-year old farmer from Baybay City, Leyte. Along with 9 other senior farmers, Mr. Ilocando braved the 1-day Digital Farmers Program 101 (DFP 101) to learn about digital farming.

The Digital Farmers Program (DFP) is a project between the Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and SMART Communications, Inc., which consists of a ladderized approach in teaching farmers with basic digital tools and technologies, particularly social media. The program is divided into three - DFP 101 (Beginner), DFP102 (Intermediate), and DFP103 (Advanced).

Senior partners were paired with youths who guided them on the use of the smartphone. While the farmers learned about the smartphone and social media, the youth also learned more about agriculture. Most of the participants came from the same household so learning can be continuous and can be applied right away.

DFP 101 taught participants about the smartphone, social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube, e-learning, and several agri-related apps. Participants also explored FB’s marketplace and posted sample products in a private online group as practice.

Mr. Jeffrey Ciro Subayno, a youth participant, found the training useful. He said, “DFP 101 enables farmers to gain knowledge on how to sell their products online. They no longer need to physically vend their products; all they have to do is to post these products online. Because it is online, buyers come in fast and transactions between sellers and buyers are much easier”.

For a senior farmer like Mr. Victor Bantaculo, he was happy that the Bunga Compact Farmers Association (BUCFA) members were chosen as participants in DFP 101. “This is a great help for us especially now that we’re in this computer world. Personally at home, everyone has their smartphones even my grandkids. I stopped using them because I find it difficult to use. Because of DFP, I really encourage my co-farmers to really participate in the training because we saw that this program can really improve our farming experiences”, he shared.

After successfully completing DFP 101, the participants can look forward to the second level of this ladderized education approach, DFP 102.

ATI RTC 8 is most thankful to its partner in implementing DFP in Baybay City, the City Agriculture Office headed by Ms. Mora Abarquez with Mr. Wernher Uy as the DFP Coordinator.

Twenty (20) participants, 10 senior farmers and 10 youth, attended the DFP 101 at Dely’s Bldg., Baybay City, Leyte on September 16, 2020.