Digital Agri Sector to Benefit Local Farmers, Consumers–DA

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it would push for the digitalization of the country’s agriculture sector under the “new normal” to achieve its goals of reducing poverty and attaining food security.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar told the recent 35th United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC35) virtual meeting that it is important to teach farm families to capitalize digital agriculture to increase their productivity and incomes.

“It is important that we continuously empower vulnerable groups —smallholder farmers, fisherfolk, rural women, the youth, indigenous communities and farm families, in general—by providing them the needed technical, marketing and financial support, especially in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dar said.

“Now, more than ever, we should reinforce this by teaching farm families to take advantage of data-driven or digital agriculture to further increase their productivity and incomes,” Dar, who was elected APRC35 Vice Chairman, added.

The FAO Regional Conferences play an important role in governance for policy coherence for regional development; discussion of global priorities as they relate to the region; providing inputs to the Council and Conference on FAO priorities, and discussing issues such as Covid-19 and intra-regional trade and investment, according to the DA.

Dar said during the meeting that the DA is “fast-tracking” the development of a digital road map for the agriculture sector to promote and integrate precision agriculture and digital technology in local farming practices.

“We aim to integrate digital technologies in the food value chain and logistics, benefiting both producers and consumers,” Dar said.

The DA said it aims to have “real-time access to ICT-driven crop production and risk and damage assessment information with the use of drones and dynamic cropping calendar.”

The DA disclosed that it recently installed a dashboard at Dar’s office, where real-time and updated critical policy-making information is available to the secretary at his fingertips and is updated daily.

These information include farmers’ registry, farm machineries distributed, and farm-to-market roads constructed, among other infrastructure and major DA initiatives, according to DA.

The DA said it is also pursuing partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and international research institutions to digitize Philippine agriculture. (Jasper Y. Arcalas)

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