FARMHELP: A New Mobile Application to Link Filipino Farmers to the Department of Agriculture


GOOD NEWS–A new mobile phone application, FARMHELP, could now be used by farmers, fisher folks and other agriculture stakeholders to forward their concerns and submit complaints to the Department of Agriculture 24 hours every day and seven days a week.

FARMHELP, designed by the group PureForce which also designed the 911 program of the administration of President Rody Duterte, was launched in simple ceremonies last Tuesday in the Office of the Secretary.

Using a smart phone, the user could just go to the Apps and he would find FARMHELP which he could tap to download the application.

Once downloaded, the user could start following instructions which would be shown in the phone screen.

He could tap the name of an office if his concerns are with a specific bureau, corporation or attached agencies under the Dept. of Agriculture.

For example, a farmer who would like to request for a technical information on a disease affecting his fruit trees, he could simply take a photo of the diseased plant and send it to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

The information will immediately be forwarded to the BPI by the 24/7 answering desk as soon as the offices open the following morning.

In cases of extreme emergency, the user could use SMS messaging or call a Hotline which would be indicated once the FARMHELP phone application is downloaded.

Damage to crops or vital farm infrastructures like roads or bridges could be easily responded to.

The phone application will also warn farmers and fisher folks of incoming typhoons or weather disturbances and provide information on when rains are expected.

It would also give fisher folks an advisory when it is not safe to go out to sea to fish.

The FARMHELP apps will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the user at the time the message is received, thus providing a faster system to extend help immediately.

The DA Secretary will also be able to monitor the whereabouts of all the Undersecretaries, Bureau Directors and Regional Directors of the DA because each will be given a special phone which could be tracked.

Starting November, DA technical teams will start a nation-wide information campaign to instruct farmer-leaders on how to use the phone application.

Each farmers’ association and cooperative will also be provided with a low-cost smart phone which they could use to forward the concerns of their association or cooperative.

FARMHELP is the first smart phone application which the DA will be using to give farmers, fisher folks and agriculture stakeholders greater access to the department.

It is also expected to improve transparency and accountability in the Department of Agriculture.

(c) Manny Pinol

(Photos of FARMHELP apps launching taken by John Pagaduan. Smart phone photo downloaded from Google.)

This is a very good initiative but the Not-so-good News is..
Not all Filipino farmers can afford to buy smartphones or they must at least learn how to use one first. 🙂 The technology is made available but we still need to work more on financing and marketing.


#BuyLocal: Support Local Farmers


(c) Rey Pasion via FB

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local produce and that’s kind of the same thing. How so?  Locally grown food tastes better. The state of freshness is ensured as the time in transit is less and/or less time to sit around. Thus, it is more nutritious. The healthier you get, the happier you’ll be.

You help your local economy grow. Locally grown food helps build communities because when you buy directly from the farmer, you are building a relationship while also helping to support local farmers who are providing for you as much as they are providing for their own families.

If you choose to spend your money at the grocery store next week then you would never even notice you were gone. If you took a small fraction of that money and spent it on local products being sold by local farmers, you would help pay the rent or you could even SAVE HIS FARM, save his family.

So why not put a smile ◕◡◕ on our local farmers. Let’s patronize our local products.

While Mang Juan is watching his field on a dry spell, I could see his eyes hoping for a good planting season and a bountiful harvest. And when he could have it, he earnestly hope his produce will be sold out at a very good price. By then, he can pay his land rent, provide for his family’s primary needs, and can have something to invest and roll out for the next cropping period.

I cannot do much for the local farmers in my community who are patiently waiting for the rain to come so they can start planting rice, vegetables and other important crops. But if this simple writing serves as a reminder to all of us to keep their hopes up then why not? Let’s make it happen. 😊 #BuyLocal #SupportTheFarmers #SupportAgriculture

Where would YOU be Without Agriculture?

I am very much thankful that I became part of this year’s Rice Appreciation Course, a season long training for research and admin support staff of Philippine Rice Research Institute. This training reminded me how important agriculture is in life. Agriculture provides most everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. Could you imagine  Where would YOU be Without Agriculture?

The impact of agriculture in our lives is very huge. From the moment we open your eyes each morning up to the time we end our day, agriculture industry is always part of our lives. This brings one simple question to mind, where would you be without agriculture? While reading the rest of this simple post, please keep that question in mind.

People simply enjoy buying food, clothes, jewelry, etc. at their favorite local stores, supermarkets, flee markets, etc.on a typical market or shopping day. Sadly, many do not even bother to speculate where the food they eat or clothes they wear come from. The agriculture industry is an amazing industry that we could improve by helping educate others about the responsibilities that agriculturalists have.

Everyday is my school day and Everyone is my teacher–young or old. Some may be completely unaware that I’m learning from them, yet I bow deeply with gratitude.From my heart, THANK YOU.

Once a beginner, one day an expert

Once a beginner, one day an expert

The Philippines is still primarily an agricultural country despite the plan to make it an industrialized economy. The country’s agriculture sector is made up of 4 sub-sectors: farming, fisheries, livestock, and forestry (the latter 2 sectors are very small). The population continues to grow exponentially. This is challenging farmers to produce more food in the next 50 years than what has been produced in previous years.

The agriculture industry isn’t just a food providing industry, it also provides us with jobs, stimulates the economy, provides homes for humans as well as animals, and improves our environment. The industry employs at least 39.8 percent of the labor force and contribute 20 percent of GDP.

Now, back to our question: Where would you be without agriculture? Without agriculture you would be naked, lacking nutrients you need for survival, unprotected, and hungry. You would have no sturdy and well-furnished home. There wouldn’t be vehicles, much less the gas to put in them. Oh, you wouldn’t also have that fragrant soap, shampoo, conditioner for your smooth and silky hair. So next time you see a farmer, please thank them for all that they do to supply you with necessities for your daily life. ^_^ Do not underestimate what agriculture can do 🙂

~© Historymaker/The Official Traveler 


Future Rice

Philippine Rice Research Institute, 2015

Hey there! Have you eaten yet? Kindly pause for a moment and thank God for being the source of good and perfect gifts. That’s marvelous! Next, have you ever thought that farmers also deserve to be recognized too for bringing those food on your table?

Sometimes, our life gets too busy on many things that we tend to forget some tiny yet very valuable things. As you grab a bite today, I hope to remind you one simple truth:

◕◡◕ Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a FARMER. –B.S.

Thank God for our farmers..^_^ for their dedication in growing and supplying healthy food for us who care very much about health.Thank a farmer, today!

© Historymaker/The Official Traveler