Mang Vicente “Vic” Berdan, a 59-year-old farmer from Tanay, Rizal, is not new to Facebook. His cover photo shows him and his wife harvesting crops from their farm. The couple also actively replies to friends who comment on their online photos, asking about their produce. Beyond basic functionalities though, Mang Vic wants to use Facebook to further promote the rice and organic vegetables that he produces.
A 2008 Regional Outstanding Gawad Saka awardee for Rice, he sees the popular social media site as a channel to share his knowledge on farming. Assisting Berdan in learning more about how to use and benefit from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as create and upload Youtube videos, is his niece Camille Margaret Custodio. The 18-year-old college student was his learning partner at the Tanay leg of the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) participated in by eleven farmer-youth pairs.
The DFP is an initiative of the Department of Agriculture—Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and leading wireless services provider Smart Communications (Smart) that aims to empower small-scale farmers by educating and giving them access to available digital tools and technologies.