THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Dar pushes for digitalization of Phl agri with Byaheng Digiskarte, BayaniKita

Author: DA Communications Group | 3 August 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with leading digital technology companies to create programs, which aim to accelerate the modernization of agriculture through digital platforms to the farmers and fisherfolk, and other stakeholders.

“The push for the digitalization of the country’s agriculture sector has been one of the DA’s goals, especially during the ‘New Normal’,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The agri chief added that the initiatives are also part of the key strategies of DA to reduce the complexities of doing business, accelerating further the transformation of Philippine agriculture.

On August 2, 2021, Dar together with Undersecretary for Administration and Finance and Chairperson of DA-Ease of Doing Business Taskforce Roldan G. Gorgonio, IoT Valley Corporation Chairman and President Rolando Amaleo Lirio III, Philippine Association of Agriculturists, Inc. (PAA) Chairman Roberto Rañola, BAYAD Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Francispito Quevedo, and Gcash Vice President for Enterprise Jose Luis Reyes, launched the “Byaheng Digiskarte ni ANI at KITA” and “BayaniKita App”.

“It is important that we help and empower our agri-fishery sector by providing them the technical, marketing, and financial support they need,” Sec. Dar added.

“Byaheng Digiskarte ni ANI at KITA,” is a mentoring program undertaken in collaboration with Aboitiz Foundation designed to assist in the recovery and growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives that were affected during the pandemic by helping them with the use of digital technologies and other platforms in their business to increase profit.

“With the skill to use mobile phones, internet, and online platforms, they will be able to effectively reach more buyers, improve business and organizational operations, and enhance member services,” Sec. Dar said.

The “BayaniKita” app, on the other hand, aims to provide its stakeholders with vital communication. It is undertaken through a partnership with IoT Valley Corporations. It features a chat facility directly connected to the Office of the Secretary to address stakeholders’ concerns and complaints, an e-wallet system connected to other digital payments facilities or platforms, and digital ID for farmers and fishers.

It is also integrated with other DA’s services such as weather updates, marketing platforms such as bagsakan/bulungan and price monitoring, and Bantay ASF program, among others.

“All of these will simplify communication and transition of acquiring agri services without leaving the comforts of your home. This will also promote the ease of doing business and lessen physical interaction with people especially in this time of the pandemic,” the DA chief said.

During the launch, DA also signed an agreement with BAYAD, Gcash, and Union Bank for a three-year contract to avail their payment collections services and payment facilities for DA services such as SPS permits, laboratory fees, and other related fees in its attached agencies and corporation. The DA will be one of the billers on their platforms. This will also help facilitate reports in payments since everything will be deposited directly to the accounts of the concerned agency.

The Philippine Association of Agriculturists, Inc. (PAA) also signed an agreement for the promotion and utilization of the BayaniKita app to its registered members.

The BayaniKita App is available on Android.

DA’s Technical Adviser on Information Technology, Farm Digitization and Marketing Dennis Layug said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also pledged support for the BayaniKita App. A formal agreement and launching will be signed in September 2021.

“JICA will be supporting this because they find the app as a super tool to be able to reach the farmers and fishers,” Layug said.

The launching was attended virtually by Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth Marasigan, Aboitiz Equity Vice President for Corporate External Relations Christopher Camba, and Union Bank Group Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and Operations Chief Transformation Officer Henry Rhoel Aguda. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)

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