MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Aboitiz Group recognized the value of technology and innovation and virtually launched to digitize agriculture through “Byaheng Digiskarte ni Ani at Kita” or BiDA Kita program in August this year.
“In partnership with Aboitiz Foundation, we are launching the ‘Byaheng Madigiskarte ni Ani at Kita’, a mentoring program designed to help in the recovery and growth of MSMEs and cooperatives that were affected during the pandemic, by helping them adopt a digital mindset,” DA secretary William Dar said in his message during the virtual event.
Dar said that with the use of mobile phones, internet, and other online platforms the agriculture sector can effectively reach more buyers, improve business, and organizational operations and enhance member services.
The BiDA Kita program is designed to help agriculture enterprises become digital and it is aligned with the key strategy of “One DA Reform Agend” which is Technology, Innovation and Digital Agriculture. The push for the digitalization of the country’s agricultural sector is one of DA’s goals especially under the new normal.
DA-7 said that this program, with expert mentors on various topics including the use of mobile phones, internet, email, and video conferencing; establishing digital presence through social media and e-commerce platforms; enhancing skills in digital marketing and using applications for business operations.
DA thanked the Aboitiz Foundation, UnionBank, Bayad Center, GCash, IOT Valley and Philippine Association of Agriculturist Inc., for being part of the goal in digitalizing Philippine agriculture. We look forward to more partnerships like this, where we can help our farmers and fisherfolks achieve their ‘masaganang ani at mataas na kita,” Dar added.
Aboitiz Foundation President and COO Maribeth Marasigan, in the same event also said that for Aboitiz Foundation, digital technology is not only a solution but also a powerful tool to help solve various challenges of enterprises.
“We came up with the project ‘Byaheng Digiskarte’ because we want to help enterprises overcome their daily challenges by using mobile phones, internet, social media and e-commerce platforms. While a general appreciation of the opportunities offered by digital transformation is emerging, many enterprises continue to lack orientation and fail to prioritize digitization. Meanwhile, at the community level, the farmers need support in keeping up with the times to make them more digitally literate and capable,” Marasigan said.
Meanwhile, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) First Vice President for External Relations Christopher Camba commented that this approach is anchored on the Aboitiz Group’s belief that the growth of people and the advancement of their welfare are fundamental to the development of society and of the Philippines.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to promote digital mindset among farmers and fisherfolks, as a major step towards establishing digital agriculture through ‘Byaheng Digiskarte ni Ani at Kita or BIDA KITA’,” Camba said.
The program has an initial enrollment of over 30 MSME’s and cooperatives in two (2) regions and is expected to benefit over 150 individuals.
The virtual launching was attended by Aboitiz Equity Ventures First Vice President for Corporate External Relations Christopher Camba; Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth Marasigan; UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and Operations Chief Transformation Officer Henry Rhoel Aguda and Pilmico Foods Corporation Vice President for Brand and Marketing Joeben Gamatero.