PLDT and Smart recently partnered with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), creating more opportunities for Filipino cacao farmers through digital solutions and capacity-strengthening initiatives for the industry.   The move expands PLDT Group’s Digital Farmers Program (DFP), helping scale up digital inclusion and mobile internet literacy.

Together with the Department of Agriculture- Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI), PLDT Group will include in its DFP portfolio cacao farming communities in the Davao region, the country’s top cacao producer. DFP, the digital inclusion program of the PLDT Group and DA-ATI, aims to help increase mobile internet literacy of farmers and introduce them to various digital tools and applications to help boost their farm productivity and livelihoods.

“We are fully committed to help our partners, MEDA, along with the Davao Region Cacao Council, and the Davao City Cacao Council, in supporting our local cacao industry. The growing global cacao-based industry offers a wealth of opportunities, and stakeholders like ourselves must collaborate to enable, empower, and improve the livelihood of Filipino cacao farmers. These programs also align with PLDT Group’s advocacy of uplifting communities through technology,” said Judee Chaves, Mindanao Relations Head at PLDT and Smart.

The partnership was officially launched during the National Cacao Congress in Davao, attended by hundreds of cacao producers, market actors, and stakeholders nationwide.  

PLDT Group have linked up with like-minded groups to promote sustainable farming and to achieve a digitally inclusive agriculture landscape for local producers.

Roderick Valones, Interim Country Director of MEDA Philippines, said, “We are very excited about this partnership with PLDT and Smart; combining our business solutions with your digital solutions, we hope to contribute to decent work creation for cacao farmers by helping them increase their yield and improve their income.” MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. For over 70 years, MEDA has engaged in market-driven development and impact investing to increase decent work opportunities in the agri-food system.

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