As they gear up for the nationwide rollout of the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) 101, selected information officers of the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) network of training centers convened online for a five-day Training of Trainers (TOT).
Together with program partners from Smart-Public Affairs Group, the participants identified various alternative modes of delivery for the DFP training, especially amid the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worldwide. They also reviewed all of the training materials and discussed the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for the program.
In his recorded message shown during the activity, ATI Director Alfredo Aton underscored the needed shift towards digital inclusion in agriculture.
“The changing times and this COVID-19 are a call for us to really transform the sector into a more digital landscape, and consequently, ensure that no farmer is left behind,” he said.
Aton added that the TOT is also a manifestation of the program implementers’ “passion and willingness to provide more development opportunities for our farmers and fishers nationwide, despite any circumstance we might be in.”
Ramon Isberto, first Vice President and Public Affairs Group Head of Smart Communications, Inc., graced the first day of the TOT and stressed that the current health crisis “highlights the need to develop our agriculture, and make it digital.”
“Farmers can make use of and benefit from digital technologies to make what they are doing more efficient and more productive,” he furthered.
The activity was composed of a series of design-thinking workshops facilitated by Joie Cruz and Katrina Ang of Limitless Lab. These workshops enabled the participants to conceptualize and operationalize the implementation of the program in their respective offices.
One of the participants, Bethel John Sinon of ATI-Regional Training Center VIII, said that through the TOT, they gained more “confidence to face the trainees and help them become modern-day farmers, capable and ready to take on the challenges of this ever-changing world.”
DFP is an initiative of the ATI and Smart, which started in 2019 to help farmers cope with technological developments in agriculture through a ladderized education approach. This year, the rollout of the program in the regions will continue on August onward.
The online training activity hosted by Smart Communications, Inc. was held last June 29–July 3, 2020.