Local Innovations, Experiences Lead Way at ICT4Ag PH 2024

Thu, 05/30/2024 - 16:51

ICT4Ag Ph.jpg


Los Baños, Laguna—The Agricultural Training Institute co-hosts the Philippine leg of the ICT4Ag 2024 together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

With the theme, “Localizing impact through inclusion, inspiration, and innovation”, the conference included plenary and breakout sessions on sharing of knowledge and experiences in the application of various digital solutions in agriculture in the Philippines—centering on opportunities, challenges, and calls for action.

“I am excited about the opportunities for us to form collaborations, the learnings that lie ahead, the stories that we will hear, and the connections that we will make will inspire us to push the boundaries of what is possible,” UPLB Chancellor Dr. Jose Camacho, Jr. graced the activity and expressed his optimism on leveraging on collaboration in harnessing agricultural technology for the benefit of all.

“Together, we can forge pathways that will ensure this advancement in agriculture technology leaves no one behind,” he added.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Engr. Christopher Morales emphasized the long-standing collaboration of the Department with IRRI in implementing projects that support the country’s aspirations for food security and improved welfare of Filipino rice farmers and consumers. Some of these include the Drones4Rice Project, Assessment of digital tools for data-driven decision making on rice-based agri-food systems in the Philippines or D4AgPH, 4DFarms, and Scale RCM which all complements the DA’s strategy for digital transformation.

Leading the ATI delegation, Assistant Director Antonieta Arceo expressed her gratitude to IRRI for the opportunity to have the Institute in the conference. She likewise acknowledged the progress made in utilizing ICT for agriculture. Although there are still challenges to address, particularly regarding inclusion and bridging the digital divide, Arceo encouraged the participants to draw inspiration from the ongoing efforts being done by different organizations. 

 “While we still have a long way to go, we should be inspired of the various efforts that we are doing in our own little and big innovative ways,” she noted.

Experiences of start-up companies, academe, and farmers were also discussed in the breakout sessions moderated by the ATI. Kita Agritech Inc. Vice President Rafael Anonas shared the pain points of farmers on high price of farm inputs, financing, among several other factors.

Julieane Camile Lacsina, President and CEO of GOEden PH, talked about the vulnerability of farmers to various scams prevalent in digital marketplaces. Lacsina likewise raised the need for proper enforcement of policies, laws, and regulations to protect farmers, most especially those who do not have enough access to make informed decisions.

On the other hand, ATI Information Services Division Officer-in-Charge Joeven Calasagsag presented Digital Farmers Program (DFP), one of the initiatives of the Institute, in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc., in onboarding farmers in the digital ecosystem. DFP partners from the farming community and state university also joined the breakout session and shared their journey in helping the ATI achieve its mission through digital literacy.

Central Bicol State University of Agriculture Professor and Digital Agriculture Innovations Center Director Vladimir Foronda, Myriad Farms co-owner Frianina Resplandor, and Midpapan Balogo Communal Irrigators Association Inc. President Charlie Pasaquian shared their first-hand experiences on the adoption of digital agriculture tools and platforms as well as their impact in their activities both as a farmer and extension service providers.

The event was participated by agri-food system stakeholders from both private and government organizations, policy decision-makers, technology experts, researchers, and enthusiasts.

ICTforAg is an annual convening where different agrifood system stakeholders share knowledge, find solutions, and form partnerships to address challenges in agrifood systems across low and middle-income countries.

The event was simultaneously held in Kenya, India, Mexico, and the United States on May 28-30, 2024.