PLDT and Smart turn over phones and connectivity devices to MEDA
as part of their support to cacao farmers in the Davao Region

Nestled in the mountainous parts of Davao City are abundant cacao farms, making Davao one of the top contributors to Philippine cacao production. Empowering cacao farming communities in the region, PLDT and Smart, alongside the Department of Agriculture- Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI), have kickstarted a partnership with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), supported by the Government of Canada, the Davao City Cacao Council, and the Davao Region Cacao Council, under the telco group’s award-winning Digital Farmers Program (DFP).

“PLDT and Smart are committed to ensuring Davao’s cacao farmers and small businesses can thrive in the digital economy. Equipping them with digital tools, knowledge and sustainable farming practices will not only empower them to grow their businesses but allow them to make even greater contributions to the region’s agricultural sector,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, PLDT and Smart head of Stakeholder Management.

Through DFP, PLDT, Smart and DA-ATI will train cacao farmers and MSMEs supported by the local cacao councils on various digital tools and technologies, while MEDA will focus on environmentally sustainable agriculture practices. Officially launched during the recent Cacao Business Forum in Davao, this collaboration aims to equip farmers with digital skills to optimize their farming techniques and eventually improve their yield.

“Our world now relies on technology, and these digital programs – providing access to digital applications, digital market interactions and access to information, will bring the cacao industry into the digital age,” said MEDA Country Director Natalie Macawaris.

PLDT and Smart also donated smartphones and connectivity devices to benefit up to 5,400 cacao farmers, giving them access to technology for their farming needs and interactive materials to help promote sustainable agriculture and economic development.

PLDT and Smart launch their partnership with MEDA, supported by the Government of Canada

In his speech, David Hartman, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines, said: “I thank PLDT and Smart for your commitment to include cacao farmers in the Davao region as part of your Digital Farmers Program. Canada plays a supporting role, but every stakeholder is instrumental in this collective effort. Let us leverage our combined expertise and resources to overcome challenges and seize opportunities for the benefit of the cacao sector.”

PLDT and Smart promote digital inclusion by extending livelihood opportunities and promoting food security across the country through connectivity and innovation. This initiative also aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).