Digital Farming: Strengthening Coconut Farmers in the Philippines
In the Philippines, more than three million coconut smallholder farmers supply a multi-billion-dollar export industry. Yet, they are among the poorest households in the country. Grameen Foundation developed a Digital Farming platform, known in the Philippines as FarmerLink, that uses data, digital technology, and Community Agents to provide farmers with complementary resources: agricultural training via SMS on their mobile phones, connections to high-value markets, support for organic certification, extreme pest and weather alerts, training in financial management, and access to financing.
At the end of its 18-month pilot, Grameen had engaged 27,557 farmers with SMS campaigns containing good agricultural practices, cash management practices and pest and disease information. The farmers who received the mobile-enabled extension services adopted six out of nine crucial agricultural practices to improve their productivity. More than 3,000 farmers were able to protect their crops against a prolonged drought by following the advice they received on their phones.
Partners included the government’s Philippine Coconut Authority, coconut exporters Franklin Baker and Nutiva, the microfinance-oriented People’s Bank of Caraga, and others. Philippine Coconut Authority is now working to extend the use of FarmerLink more widely in the country.