Digital innovation, gov’t support to buoy agri sector

Digital innovation, gov’t support to buoy agri sector

MANILA – Digital innovations and increased government support are seen to uplift the agricultural sector, a co-founder of a start-up company that won the Globe’s business Hack-it-On competition said.

In a virtual briefing on Thursday, Farm Box co-founder John Lester Mendoza said the agriculture sector accounts for about 10 percent of the domestic economy’s output but a large number of farmers live below the poverty line.

He said logistics is among the major problems that farmers still face, thus, the need to improve on this to also entice the younger generation to be part of the sector.

“Workforce in the farming sector is also declining and this affects the food security in the country,” he said.

Farm Box won the month-long virtual competition, which kicked off last June 18 and participated in by 50 business start-ups from the information technology (IT) sector.

Its proposal involves the use of application programming interface (API) technology in the business model to increase investor engagement and retention.

Farm Box uses a crowdfunding platform that allows anyone to buy farm boxes that contain essentials that partner farmers need.

It also uses a charging API to help widen payment options for investors, a short messaging system (SMS) API to notify investors and farmers for payout advisories and promos, and rewards API that allows investors to receive load credits or promo codes when they repurchase farm boxes.

It has partnered with some farmers in Batangas, whose produce is now being supplied to several hospitals, restaurants and food chains, as well as online sellers.

“This competition has definitely helped us unlock a new level of creativity in coming up with solutions to uplift our local economy through Globe Business’ API solutions,” Mendoza said.

During the same event, Globe Business MSME Group infoComm Industry Marketing Lead Nicola Ebrada said they are willing to tap sister companies to help Farm Box if the latter needs a capital boost.

“For Globe Business, our goal really is to be able to support our MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprise) customers,” she said.

Globe Business currently has a campaign called “Tuloy Tayo” (Let’s go forward), which, Ebrada said, is aimed to encourage MSMEs to continue their operations amidst the challenging times.

“We really want to be able to cultivate that mindset now, wherein even if we’re going through this pandemic we can move forward, push forward. We want to build the confidence of our MSME customers,” she added. (PNA)

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