PLDT Inc. and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc., said they are seeking out more participants in their Digital Farmers Program (DFP).

DFP is being offered in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

“Through our partnership with the ATI, we aim to reach more farmers and share with them potential livelihood opportunities from technology,” PLDT and Smart Head of Stakeholder Management Stephanie V. Orlino said in a statement over the weekend.

“This program also highlights the tangible benefits that the infusion of technology can provide and how it can increase profits over time,” Ms. Orlino added.

The company said that the program had conducted 56 training sessions attended by 1,951 farmers, youth, agricultural extension workers, and farm field school representatives in the first half of 2023.

“To date, DFP has extended the benefits of using technology in agriculture to 8,506 Filipino farmers under 312 training sessions rolled out,” it added.

The sessions cover smartphone and internet fundamentals and the use of e-commerce platforms. Participants include local government representatives, farmer associations, farm field schools, and cooperatives.

“The DFP has been our platform to ensure that we are on-course in our goal to capacitate and empower every Filipino farmer especially in navigating a highly digital environment” ATI Director Remelyn R. Recoter said.

“This is an instrument for us to communicate the importance, urgency, and benefits of digital solutions and smart agriculture technologies to all farmers in the best way possible. Through the DFP, we hope to cultivate a digitally inclusive ecosystem for the agriculture sector,” Ms. Recoter added.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Adrian H. Halili