ATI, Smart Communications Launch Digital Farmers Program

ATI Director Alfredo Aton and Smart Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto lead the MOU signing for the Digital Farmers Program.

MAKATI CITY, Metro Manila—The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Smart Communications, Inc. Public Affairs Group have sealed the deal that will further expand their reach in capacity development and technology inclusion which are highly essential for the agriculture sector.

Through the Digital Farmers Program (DFP), the youth will be engaged in a three-course sequence focusing on acquainting, capacitating, and empowering small-holder farmers with basic digital tools and technologies, particularly social media, climate and weather monitoring applications, and e-Farming, among others.

Moreover, the DFP intends to harness the high technology-adaptability skills of the youth in actively onboarding small-holder farmers into the digital space, and consequently, establishing a solid channel of idea-exchange from using modern agricultural technologies to discovering old-age farming traditions passed down through generations.

Parallel to Agriculture Secretary’s directive, this program hopes to produce various agricultural content based on the wisdom and practices of farmers. These will later be uploaded and shared in various information and communications technology platforms.

Ramon Isberto, head of Smart’s Public Affairs Group, stressed that it is high time that the private sector come in and be a “partner-enabler” of the farming community. “We want to be a partner of ATI and we commit to bring our expertise in technology to help the agriculture sector,” he added.

Isberto and ATI Director Alfredo Aton led the signing of the memorandum of understanding. ATI Information Services Division chief Antonieta Arceo and regional training center directors Marites Piamonte-Cosico and Maria Lydia Echavez from regions IV-A and X, respectively, were also present to witness the event.

Four batches of the DFP are already set to roll out in the third quarter of this year in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal.

The DFP MOU signing was held on June 7, 2019 at the Makati Garden Club in this city.

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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.