Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Jollibee Group Foundation Supports Ilocos Sur Farmer Group to Become Agro-Entrepreneurs

Jollibee Group Foundation Supports Ilocos Sur Farmer Group to Become Agro-Entrepreneurs

MANILA, Philippines. – Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), the social responsibility arm of Jollibee Group, continues to capacitate youth scholars, farmers, and local farming communities nationwide through its local implementing partners like the Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative (SHSC) in Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur.

JGF’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) has been enabling several SHSC members and groups through scholarships and training since 2013. 

The Tagudin Agroentrepeneurs Association, Inc. (TAA), was the first farmer group organized by SHSC through the agro-enterprise clustering approach introduced by JGF. SHSC has been assisting TAA in marketing their products, agri-financing and agri technologies, among others.

“Dati kasi wala naman kaming kakayahan na magkaroon ng capital dahil nakatutok lang kami sa pagtatanim. Pero dahil sa tulong ng coop at ng JGF ay natulungan kaming makapagumpisa at magkaroon ng magandang variety ng binhi. Naturuan din kami ng iba pang kaalaman tungkol sa pagsasaka at pagnenegosyo,” said TAA’s General Manager, Michael Lorica. (“Before, we didn't have the ability to have capital because we only focused on planting. But with the help of the coop and JGF, we were able to start planting and have access to a good variety of seeds. We were also taught other knowledge about farming and doing business.”)

“Bukod pa dito, siyempre malaking bagay rin sa amin na meron na kaming sure buyer para sa aming mga produkto” he added. (“In addition to this, of course it is also a big deal for us that we now have a sure buyer for our products.”)

FEP centers on developing smallholder farmers’ leadership and technical skills by helping them become direct suppliers of high-quality vegetables to corporate buyers such as the Jollibee Group and ensure their sustainable profitability. 

With a huge pool of farmers under their cooperative, SHSC farmer members have become part of the Jollibee Group’s growing roster of produce suppliers. They started supplying green bell peppers, tomatoes, and hot peppers to the Jollibee Group in 2018. Apart from vegetables, SHSC has expanded its products for the restaurant company by supplying white onions in 2022. The SHSC farmer members have delivered a total of 170 tons of vegetables to the Jollibee Group to date. 

TAA farmers, for their part, have been supplying white onions to the Jollibee Group brands since 2015. They have provided almost 600 tons of their products since their first delivery. 

Farmer collaboration

For Lorica, the years of partnership between SHSC and JGF have helped reshape their mindset as member farmers and now, as entrepreneurs.

“Dahil iba-iba ang covered ng seminar ni JGF marami sa mga nakagawiang pamamaraan namin ang nabago. Kasama na rito ang paggamit ng consolidation area to promote food safety at mga training tulad ng AE Clustering Approach, soil testing, at livelihood recovery program. Tinulungan din nila kami na makakuha ng mga sapat na accreditation gaya ng Good Agricultural Practices,” he said. (“Many of our usual methods have been changed because of the different topics covered by JGF's seminars. This includes using a consolidation area to promote food safety and trainings such as AE Clustering approach, soil testing, and livelihood recovery program. They also helped us get adequate accreditations such as Good Agricultural Practices.”)

“Ngunit para sakin ang isa pang malaking pinapagpasalamat namin sa JGF ay ang pagbibigay nila ng training para sa farming para sa mga kabataan dahil patuloy nang tumatanda ang edad ng mga magsasaka,” Lorica added. (“But for me, another big thing that we’re thankful for about JGF is how they provide farming training for the youth, mainly because the farmers in the country are continuously aging”)

Apart from providing opportunities for economically disadvantaged sectors, JGF, through its Access, Curriculum, and Employability (ACE) Scholarship program, partners with technical-vocational training institutions to provide indigent youth with the opportunity to stay in school by developing their agro-entrepreneurship skills.

The ACE Scholarship Program aligns with the United Nations’ transformative Sustainable Development Goals aimed at bringing peace and prosperity to the world, particularly its Quality Education (SDG4), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8), and Reduced Inequalities (SDG10) pillars.


Commitment to contribute

JGF has long been committed to developing relevant, effective, and sustainable programs. With the support of its partner communities and institutions, JGF continues to leverage its expertise and resources to create valuable interventions that help uplift the lives of many Filipino farmers. 

“We believe that by fostering a sustainable collaboration between the Jollibee Group and FEP partners like SHSC, we help strengthen the future of the country’s agricultural sector. Together with our partners, we will continue to develop FEP into a more inclusive and expansive program that would help address the urgent needs of various farming communities and expose them to new and innovative farming practices,” said JGF President Gisela Tiongson. 

Since 2009, the FEP has capacitated 25 farmer groups of more than 3,000 farmers. To date, these farmers have supplied a combined 10.7 million kilos worth of assorted vegetables to Jollibee Group, which amounts to Php477 million in sales. 

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