PLDT Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc., in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and TikTok Philippines, have launched a bazaar program to boost the online presence of agro-enterprises.

In a statement on Thursday, PLDT said the Buy Local Bazaar aims to strengthen the online presence of more than 50 agro-enterprises and expand their market reach on the TikTok platform.

TikTok has a shopping feature that allows sellers and brands to sell products directly via its LIVE videos.

The bazaar is under the companies’ eBizNovation program, which is a digital skilling-to-e-commerce program for micro, small and medium enterprises, and cooperatives to help them grow their market reach and eventually generate more sales.

“PLDT and Smart firmly believe in the role of technology in extending livelihood opportunities that can help increase profits over time,” said PLDT and Smart Head of Stakeholder Management Team Stephanie V. Orlino.

PLDT and Smart have had a partnership since 2019 with DA-ATI through the Digital Farmers Program where they provide digital literacy training to farmers, fisherfolk, and agro-enterprises.

“DA-ATI acknowledges the crucial role of digital technologies in helping our country’s primary producers become more globally competitive, productive, and resource-efficient. We continuously find ways to provide our local farmers and fisherfolk with opportunities for development, such as financial and technical support, among others,” said DA-ATI Director Remelyn R. Recoter.

Ms. Recoter said the deals with private companies have enabled the agency to advance its mission to “build more economies of scale and solidify the sector’s path to overall industrialization and modernization.”

“Since the launch of TikTok Shop in the Philippines a year ago, our community of merchants and creators has continued to grow,” said TikTok Philippines Head of Policy Kristoffer Eduard M. Rada.

“The Buy Local Bazaar program with the support of PLDT, Smart, and DA-ATI is among the many avenues we provide to empower enterprising Filipinos with the means to engage with the larger community on TikTok, grow their social presence, and build authentic connections with their consumers,” he added.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera