State-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has signed an agreement with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for the implementation of a program designed to enhance the delivery and distribution of seeds to rice farmers through digital technology, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the “Binhi E-Padala” is a joint initiative with PhilRice along with PayMaya Philippines Inc. and the Nueva Ecija Seed Growers Multipurpose Cooperative (NESGMC). Its pilot implementation is expected to benefit 5,000 farmers who are based in the traditional rice-producing provinces of Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
“DBP lauds this initiative as it presents a new and exciting development in the use of financial technology to improve and innovate traditional practices in the agriculture sector,” Herbosa said.
DBP is the seventh largest bank in the country in terms of assets and has a branch network of 129 offices and 11 branch-lite units, which are located mostly in underserved areas of the country.
During the past year, DBP has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture in disbursing cash aid to farmers and liberalizing access to credit of aspiring entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector.
Herbosa said that under the Binhi E-Padala system, farmer-beneficiaries will receive an SMS-based notification from PayMaya containing codes that they will use in claiming the inbred rice seeds from NESGMC.
He said all codes used to claim the seeds can be easily monitored and reported to facilitate payment to NESGMC through DBP as the authorized government depository bank for the project.
“Through this new approach, we can expect a more efficient and effective implementation of seed distribution activities, which is a boon to scaling up production for a valued staple such as rice,” Herbosa said.
The new system is expected to be pilot-tested in select cities and municipalities, which include Aliaga, Bongabon, Cabanatuan City, Cuyapo, General Natividad, Guimba, Licab, Llanera, Lupao, Nampicuan, Quezon, Rizal, San Jose City, Science City of Muñoz, Sto. Domingo, Talavera, Talugtug in Nueva Ecija. The system will also be implemented in Gerona, Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Tarlac City, and Victoria in Tarlac.