Around 200 representatives from farmers organizations, government agencies, and civil society groups convened for a two-day knowledge exchange and discussion of best practices in agriculture and rural development during the pandemic.
Dubbed as the Knowledge Learning Market and Policy Engagement (KLMPE), this year’s conference was anchored on five thematic pillars namely asset reforms in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and ancestral lands; agri- enterprise development and governance; Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and digital agriculture; climate-resilient agri-fishery-forestry; and gender and age-sensitive family farming.
The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), represented by Officer-in-Charge Assistant Director Antonieta Arceo, participated in the conference with Digital Farmers Program (DFP) as one of the featured case studies under the ICT and digital agriculture pillar. DFP is a digital literacy training initiative in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. that intends to improve farmers’ livelihood and increase their productivity through ICTs.
In a video presentation, Arceo highlighted that the pandemic exposed the difficulties our farmers have experienced in accessing markets for their produce, resulting in reduced sales. By capacitating them on how to use various mobile tools, the Program aims to boost the competitiveness of farmers and provide them greater access to market.
She likewise noted the need for a strong collaboration between public and private organizations and a better policy environment attracting the private sector to put up ICT-related infrastructure. “The future is digital and these are essential in creating an enabling environment that would help the farming community and the people outside it explore various opportunities that agriculture has to offer,” Arceo said.
“We believe that there is a great opportunity with multi-stakeholder partnerships because the government alone cannot solve this problem. Food security is national security that is why we should all work together so that no farmer will be left behind,” she added.
More than a hundred DFP training sessions have been conducted since its launch in 2019. With two modules already rolling out nationwide, the Program has capacitated around two thousand farmers, youth, and other stakeholders on basic digital tools such as smartphones and social media and more complex services such as e-commerce and online payment systems.
The KLMPE is a multi-stakeholder platform organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, IFAD Projects (FishCORAL, RAPID, ConVERGE, APFP Philippines), Agriculture and Rural Development Knowledge and Policy Platform (PAKISAMA, AFA, AsiaDHRRA, We Effect, Trias, PhilDHRRA, KAMMPIL, KAISAHAN, UP-CIDDS).