(FIle PNA photo)

BAGUIO CITY – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday said it is exerting efforts to give farmers in Benguet easier and safer access to digital financial services through its "Paleng-QR" program.

Noel Neil Malimban, BSP north Luzon regional director, said in an interview they are in constant communication with the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region to get both supplier-farmers and traders on board the "Paleng-QR" (a play on the words "palengke" or market and "quick response" or QR code).

It aims to establish a seamless ecosystem on the use of digital payment from vendors or traders to the suppliers or farmers.

Through the Paleng-QR program, the BSP also aims to teach farmers how to use digital platforms in a safe way to avoid scams, and to maximize the advantages of digital payments.

"We have a program to get the farmers together, teach them, educate them on the complexities of the payment platforms. This is a new technology… they need to be familiarized to safely use these platforms," Malimban said.

On Jan. 31, he said they will conduct an initial financial literacy activity for the farmers in La Trinidad, where most of the farmers reside.

"This all started from our experience during the launching when we realized that even if the traders in Baguio will use digital payments, they will still have to cash out to pay for the product if the product suppliers do not use the digital platform," Malimban said.

"It will boil down to the advantage of the farmers not only to efficiently transact with their customers but also to get them financially included so that is part of the financial inclusion, to get them on board," he added.

Aside from the financial literacy briefing in La Trinidad, the BSP will also conduct similar activities in Buguias town, which is among the biggest supplier of vegetables in the country. (PNA)