Pinoy coffee farmers go digital, welcome DiskarTech’s cashless payment solution

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios, The Philippine Business and News

Cognizant of the challenges of the coffee farmers in the Philippines,  the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) has tapped Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s (RCBC) DiskarTech, the country’s first and only Taglish financial inclusion super app, to digitalize its value chain process and help arrest the dwindling number of Filipino coffee farmers.

The agribusiness sector has been badly affected and the coffee farmers are not exempted from the challenges brought by the pandemic. The nationwide lockdown forced the limited distribution of their products requiring our Filipino coffee growers to look at changing the way they do business to survive and return to the growth stage they were enjoying prior to the pandemic. A big part of this change is going digital in getting their products to the hands of consumers and in getting remunerated.

Through the DiskarTech mobile app, some 50,000 beneficiaries from 70,000 members – will be enabled to accept payments directly from buyers. Each farmer-DiskarTech user will have its own unique QR code that can be used to process cashless transactions.

Payments are directly deposited to a basic deposit account that will earn 3.25% interest on their savings.

“As the Philippines speedily shift to a cash-lite and digital economy, our Filipino coffee farmers should be empowered to keep up and thrive in this new normal. We welcome the help of RCBC’s DiskarTech to assist in the aggressive digital scaling and adoption of the industry to keep farmers afloat during this time with digital financial services such as high interest-bearing savings and very affordable insurance for everyone for as low as P20,” said Chit Juan, president of the PCBI.

The PCBI, composed of growers, millers, roasters, retailers, local government units, and agriculture credit bodies, is a non-government organization that develops and promotes Philippine coffee and its industry.

It provides technical assistance and credit programs for coffee farms. Among its activities are coffee farming courses, seminars, trade shows, farm tours, and an annual Coffee Origins festival.

PCBI also issues a seal of Philippine coffee quality called Kape Isla as part of its marketing and promotional program.

Aside from a digitalized payments system, DiskarTech will also provide additional income streams to its farmer-users through its referral incentives program and “paki-suyo” services or features transacted on behalf of others. These include bills payment, cash in and withdrawal, fund transfers, top-up of electronic load and gaming pins, and purchase of loans, sachet insurance, and telemedicine products.

“Truly inclusive efforts should benefit the unbanked and underserved members of our community so we are more than willing to help the coffee industry to address the pain points that keep its farmers from transitioning to our new normal,” said Lito Villanueva, executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer of RCBC.

RCBC is one of the leading universal banks accelerating digital transformation in the Philippines. It was recently recognized as the best digital bank in the Philippines at the 14th Annual Alpha Southeast Asia Best Financial Institution Awards 2020. Among its digital products include RCBC mobile and online banking, handheld ATM Go mobile POS terminals, and DiskarTech, among others.