PLDT, Inc. said it assisted local farmers increase their productivity and income amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic through three projects that used digital tools.

PLDT said in a statement on Tuesday that more than P2 million in revenues were generated from the sale of 36,000 kilograms of rice under its “#BuyLocal” campaign.   

The campaign benefitted almost 1,000 farmers and raised P180,000 for the “Buy Local” sustainability fund that will be used as capital for small-scale farmers.   

PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. will distribute P100,000 from the sustainability fund to 20 farmer beneficiaries in Mindoro Occidental.   

The “#BuyLocal” campaign, in partnership with e-commerce platform Cropital, allows PLDT and Smart employees based in Metro Manila to purchase rice directly from small-scale farmers.   

“This helps provide sure markets for the farmers’ produce through employee purchases, thus increasing farmers’ source of income,” PLDT said.   

Meanwhile, PLDT said it also partnered with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) for the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) project.   

The project gives farmers access to digital tools and technologies that can help improve farm efficiency, productivity, and marketability.

Stephanie V. Orlino, Smart assistant vice president for community relations, said the basic DFP trainings help smallholder farmers who cannot use agriculture apps due to lack of digital knowledge.   

Smart also partnered with DA-ATI for an online information and awareness campaign that helps households and communities grow their own food.   

“Kalye Mabunga has become an avenue for recreation among families,” DA-ATI Information Services Division Chief Antonietta J. Arceo said.   

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. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave