CEBU, Philippines — The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is calling on Filipino farmers to start maximizing technology to expand their reach directly to consumers through online selling.
Farmers can display their produce via the Internet and may opt to provide delivery services, or meet bulk buyers directly through online transactions.
One of the recommendations of the organization is to develop the farm-to-consumer or eGrocery platforms. In this way, farmers will also become entrepreneurs, thereby cutting the cost of farm products by eliminating the profits made by middle-men.
"Technology adoption will be a key determinant of farm growth," said Southeast Asian agriculture expert Dr. Paul S. Teng.
Meanwhile, Teng also made several suggestions on how the Philippines can accelerate the agriculture growth by exploiting digital platforms to arrest the projected scarcity in next few years.
This include, access to finance, Agribusiness Marketplaces – Commodities trading platforms, online input procurement, equipment leasing used by farmers, among others.
In the Philippines, agriculture's contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) as of 2016 dropped to 9.7% from 19.14 in 1990.
Nevertheless, employment in agriculture was still significant at 27% of population depend on it for livelihood.as of 2016.
Importation in developing countries like the Philippines is still intensive to which the economy depends to sustain people's nutrition.
Technologies in financing (fintech) will also be pivotal in farm development—providing time-sensitive small loans to farmers.
"Given that time-sensitive small loans are the biggest challenge that farmers face, it'll be interesting to see solutions such as record-keeping platforms that enable small and marginal farmers to keep records, track their farming activity and build a credit profile," said Teng
Smart phones are instrumental in collaboration between fintech startups and traditional farm financing entities.
"This would help farmers in effectively building a knowledge base that will help them get access to favorable loan terms that correlate with their farming activities," said Teng.