Impact Hackathon Learning Sessions on Agriculture
August 12, 2020 – Impact Hub Manila, together with the Office of Sen. Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, hosted a second Learning Session on Agriculture. As part of Impact Hackathon Online 2020, this webinar aims to guide the participants in framing the innovative solutions for the given vertical. In previous discussion on agriculture, the focus was on breaking the stigma surrounding the agricultural sector and making it more accessible to the youth. This time we focus more on the programs that various sectors have to help the farm sector.
The panelists for this episode is the vice governor of Quezon Province, Samuel Nantes, Mayor Bernard Dy of Cauayan City, Hon. Jason Gonzales, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member of the 3rd District of the Province of Iloilo, Anjanette Tadena Founder of Bayanihan para sa Magsasaka, Elvin Laceda, Founder and CEO of RiceUp Farms Incorporated and Founder and CEO of Transfarm, the champion of last year’s Impact Hackathon 2019, and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan.
It is a harsh reality that the agricultural sector and the small farmers are also the most neglected. During the webinar, our speakers were able to share the various programs and projects they have that aim to improve the agricultural sector.
Ms. Anjanette Tadena of Bayanihan para sa Magsasaka narrated that it started as a simple donation drive to provide farmers with their immediate needs during the pandemic. They began with buying grocery bags for farmers with funds from their own pockets. What started as a simple idea by a small group of people turned into a fully-developed program to help farmers in the long run. Not only do they provide them with grocery packs, but they have also provided the farmers with life insurance, water bill subsidies, and scholarships for their children and other young farmers. Ms. Tadena cited her partners and the organizations that have helped them achieve all these in the past five months. Indeed, the spirit of Bayanihan is alive, and it shows just how much we can achieve if we were to work together to help our farmers.
Transfarm is another project that aids farmer communities. Elvin Laceda is Founder and CEO of Transfarm, the champion of last year’s Impact Hackathon. Together with his team, they developed the Transfarm app to help farmers collect data about their produce, help them see what they need to plant for the coming months, and help lessen the cost of production.
In Quezon Province, Vice Governor Samuel Nantes has a 10-Point Program for agricultural development which include development programs on coconut, rice, corn, fisheries, high-value crops, organic agriculture, support services, cooperatives, the Quezon herbal program and rural-based organizations (RBOs) enhancement.
In Cauayan City, Isabela, Mayor Bernard Dy also has numerous projects related to agriculture before and during the Covid-19 period. Included were seed distribution of assorted vegetables to 65 barangays, Kadiwa on Wheels, the Plant Plant Plant Program, the Rice Resiliency Program, installation of greenhouses with aquaponics, the Digital Farmer’s Program, and many more.
In the province of Iloilo, Hon. Jason R. Gonzales also has the Champion Farmers Program, embedding habits and behavior. In this program, there are seven habits, five virtues, and six pillars of a champion farmer. They believe that by changing the farmer’s behaviors, practices, and values, they will be able to help them better in making farming sustainable—a program founded on values formation.
We also have Republic Act No. 11321, otherwise known as the Sagip Saka Act, with Sen. Pangilinan as principal author. The act aims to help our farmers and fisherfolk get a higher income by requiring government agencies to purchase directly from the producers, eliminating the middlemen who raise the prices of food products.
Some challenges that Hackathon participants should look into would be increasing farmers’ incomes, making farming more sustainable, lower the costs of production and provide more access points for processing. Quoting Sen. Pangilinan, “we should treat our farmers like our parents because they are the ones who feed us. And so we have to ask ourselves, do we treat our farmers, as a society, like our parents? Until we change our mindset, farmers will remain poor, hunger will continue to prevail, food will be very expensive, and all of us will suffer.”
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