Event | TechUp Pilipinas, Union Bank Harnessing Technology for Agri

LR: Ms. Park, Ms. Cuisia, Mr. Duarte, Dir. Hassan, Ms.Rubio, Mr. Aguda and Ms. Maclang.
photo credit: Geiser Maclang
The Philippines is among the agricultural countries in the world that shows a big gap of demand versus supply or production. Hence, it is evident of much importation instead of exportation that is pretty ironic for an agricultural nation. The country lacks with farmers who will sustain the production for the demand. The youth, especially, are among those not interested to farming even their families come from the industry. Here comes a collaboration of the private and public sector to increase awareness of agricultural needs with the use of technology, let's take a moment to TECH UP AGRI!

Many young people of this new generation are more focused of technological advancement like doing some software or applications useful for everyday life. The world even adopts more digital transaction from inventory to payment and even prediction of things in the future. There is what we call the artificial intelligence, block chain and others. These are also the things that TechUp Pilipinas and Union Bank see as an opportunity to have the youth take a look of the agricultural industry and allow them to assess and find a digital solution or system to help the agricultural sector.

There are a number of young groups who convene for a 2-day hackathon. It is the 10th in the series but first in Mindanao. Davao City at Enderun Tent, Azuela Cove, is the host of the event wherein featured technology experts and thought leaders, including Mon Duarte, Senior Vice President of Union Bank; Clint Hassan, Director of Information and Communications Technology at the Department of Agriculture; Ann Cuisia, the Founder and CEO of TraXion; Nico Gonzales, the Director of Marketing and Sales of Xlog; Mario Salazar, Founder and Chief Technical and Product Officer of Acudeen Technologies; and Jayjay Viray, Founder of Agrigrocer. Not only that, tech advocate and co-convenor of TechUp Pilipinas, Amor Maclang is there.

Mr. Duarte has shared the bank’s vision of reaching out to the agri sector for financing. Director Hassan has shared the potential of technology in helping farmers be identified properly with their crops and support that can be given to them. Ms. Cuisia has shared their experience using blockchain in Cagayan de Oro and Leyte. Mr. Gonzales has shared roles of logistics in the industry. Mr. Salazar has shared about choosing agribusinesses as an option of business. Ms. Viray has shared about farm to table mode through technology.

The agriculture industry is close to my heart as this is also the industry where some of my family members are in. Yes, we are a family of farmers. It was rice fields then but now with banana plantation. There are really struggles being a farmer especially with undetermined rainfall then sudden flooding or no rain at all and drought. Then where to bring the crops, but with good network and connections, it will help a lot. However, not all have the network and connections; hopefully, the technology that will be developed will give that network and connection.

Also, I hope that this hackathon will not just end there. The products of such event should be scaled up after the development. It has been observed also that the Philippines is among the slowest in terms of individuals doing a scale up of products. The hackathon event is a trigger but hopefully there will be a sustenance of these projects. It may be a very good chance for the government to step up and make these projects be scaled however because of many processes to undergo, it discourages many to have a partnership. But it shouldn’t always be the case, there has to be continuous development and making these projects live like another technology worthy to be in somebody’s smartphone.

That being said, technology can really help in many ways but not really the immediate solution. It can be part of the process. Technology can provide a massive data that can be used for decision making by local government units and even by the Department of Agriculture. Also, a concern on land conversion must be brought up and these converted lands should still include agriculture section or farming area that will serve as a reminder of even in land conversion there has to be some continuous food production. Yes, I agree, there has to be a step to TECH UP AGRI!

Thank you for visiting my avenue, www.ten7avenue.com and thank you Geiser Maclang for the invitation and opportunity for this learning.

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