THE GOVERNMENT will explore improving farm productivity by adopting data-driven methods to ensure farmers become prosperous and to upgrade farm logistics, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

At a virtual meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s 35th Regional Conference, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said farmers need to be brought into the digital world to boost their productivity.

“In terms of precision agriculture and digital technology, the DA is fast-tracking the development of a digital roadmap for the Philippine agri-fishery sector. We aim to integrate digital technologies in the food value chain and logistics, benefiting both producers and consumers,” Mr. Dar said.

The DA said it aims to use drones and adopt a dynamic cropping calendar for real-time access to production and risk and damage assessment data.

A “dashboard” was also recently installed in the DA’s Office of the Secretary with updated information on the farmers’ registry, distributed farm machinery, and completed farm-to-market roads, which is updated daily.

The DA said that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has its own inventory and mapping system to strengthen its data collection efforts.

“We are also pursuing partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and international research institutions to digitalize Philippine agriculture,” the DA said.

Mr. Dar said that Microsoft Corp. has partnered with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics to develop an IT sowing application that lets smallholder subsistence farmers receive precision agro-advisories that are based on weather reports and other parameters.

“It is important that we continuously empower vulnerable groups — smallholder farmers, fisherfolk, rural women, the youth, indigenous communities and farm families, in general — by providing them the needed technical, marketing and financial support, especially in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave