The national government should help Filipino farmers gain access to new technologies such as data science and satellite imagery to connect them directly to consumers and to lower the risks of losses.
This is according to Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan during the Sixth Agricultural Development Coffee Talk Series titled, “Towards A Data-Driven Rice Policy”.
“Ito ang gusto nating mangyari para maahon sa kahirapan ang ating mga magsasaka. At pag nangyari ito, masisiguro rin natin na may pagkain tayong lahat sa ating hapag-kainan,” said Pangilinan, author of the Sagip Saka Act or Republic Act 11321.
Section 3 of the Sagip Saka Act provides that government use science-based technologies to identify and prioritize agricultural and fishery products.
Pangilinan said technology has been crucial during the pandemic when farmers in the rural areas have been linked directly to consumers in the urban centers.
“The future is digital, even in farming. The challenge is to bring these technologies to the farmers,” he said.
Pangilinan stressed that the Sagip Saka Law seeks to improve the livelihood of farmers and fisher folk by short-circuiting the food supply chain through the direct purchase of consumers (local and national governments and private buyers) from the food producers themselves. He said this should be coupled with continuing research to improve food production and distribution.
According to Dennis Layug, senior technical adviser on information technology and marketing of the Department of Agriculture, farmers and fisher folk will soon be able to communicate directly with DA through chatbots, which will also serve as the survey platform of the agency.