Butuan’s Data-Driven Initiative to Empower Local Farmers

Published on October 29, 2021

Early this year, Liveable Cities partnered with the Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge to encourage Philippine cities to participate in this competition. Fifty-two Philippine cities submitted entries and two -- Manila and Butuan -- were eventually selected as Top 50 cities and eligible for the final round where 15 winners will be selected. 

Liveable Cities Challenge congratulates Butuan City for being selected as one of two cities in the Philippines and Southeast Asia (the other city is Manila) by Bloomberg Philanthropies in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge.

Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada’s digital and data-driven approach in transforming the city’s agricultural ecosystem represents one of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ leading top 50 innovative solutions in the 2021 Mayors Challenge. As one of this year’s champion cities, Butuan had exclusive access to Bloomberg’s network of innovation experts and dedicated funding to test and refine their proposals from June until October 2021. 

In the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, Butuan City felt the urgent need to address food and nutrition insecurity in their city. Even with a vast agricultural mass of land, it continues to rely on vegetable imports from other cities and suffers from high rates of hunger and food insecurity. As the city confronts these challenges, how can Butuan make the most of their land and help farmers produce food more sustainably and efficiently? 


Photo by: Butuan PIO


Because of this, Mayor Lagnada launched a data-driven initiative that uses predictive analytics to upskill farmers and transform the agribusiness value chain system in the city. Through demand forecasts and price prediction models, farmers will have the ability to gather agricultural insights on the type and amount of crops to plant and fix commodity prices on their local food production. This initiative aims to increase vegetable production to 150% by 2023, raise farmers’ income by 50%, and reduce the average vegetable retail price by 50%. This proposed solution will also ensure an adequate supply of affordable and nutritious food while improving food logistics and the agricultural value chain system – transforming Butuan into a self-sustaining city.

Through this business model, local farmers and cities altogether will be able to utilize data and make more informed decisions that will drive a more sustainable and inclusive food ecosystem. 

Ever since the competition launched, Liveable Cities Challenge Philippines has been promoting Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge to all Philippine mayors nationwide. In this final round, we will continue to support and help our two cities, Manila and Butuan City, through our mentoring services to make them winners of this year’s global Mayors Challenge. 

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