Digital services provider PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are rising above the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic to continue supporting local rice farmers.
NCR-based employees of the two companies are making the digital shift to buy online sacks of rice from farming communities in North and Central Luzon in the second run of PLDT and Smart’s “Buy Local, Buy Smart” campaign, held in partnership with social enterprise and e-commerce platform Cropital in celebration of National Rice Awareness Month.
With the theme "Grow Local. Buy Local. Eat Local. #SuppportOurRiceFarmers,” this year’s celebration is significant given the back-to-back typhoons that hit the country. The recent storms caused about P12.3 billion of damage in agriculture, of which rice production accounts for 39.2 percent, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a recent televised interview.
Buy One, Give One
PLDT and Smart take the campaign further to support affected farming communities with “Buy One, Give One”, allowing Metro Manila-based employees to automatically donate a sack of rice for every sack that they purchase. This initiative forms part of the MVP Group’s #TuloyPaRinAngPasko movement, a call to bring the joy of the yuletide season to storm-hit communities, including 286 Dumagat families in Rizal province.
These families, who are partners in PLDT and Smart’s reforestation efforts in Rizal, lost their upland rice crops to Typhoon Ulysses.
Up to P100 of payments for products sold will also go to a sustainability fund for a farming community in Pampanga, to support their needs during the next cropping season.
The campaign to #BuyLocal is an offshoot of the Digital Farmers Program (DFP), a project of Smart with the Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) that seeks to empower Filipino farmers by providing access to digital tools and technologies that can help boost productivity and marketability.
During its pilot run in 2019, the #BuyLocal campaign got PLDT and Smart employees buying rice directly from small-scale farmers in the fourth-class municipality of Magdalena in Laguna.
With quarantine restrictions still in place, the campaign has shifted online, allowing PLDT and Smart employees and their families and friends to order and pay for sacks of rice via store.cropital.com and have purchases delivered to their homes for free. They can also get a discount of up to P90 if they use the coupon code “smartbuylocal” upon checkout.
The DFP is an advocacy of Smart Communities, under the framework of Technology for Development to narrow down the digital divide. The program is also aligned with the commitment of the PLDT group to support the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nations, particularly No Poverty (SDG 1) and Zero Hunger (SDG 2).