For its programs in enabling smallholder farmers earn more income by supplying to the company, Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) received the AGROW Award for Inclusive Business during the 2018 ASEAN Agriculture Summit last October 1.
AGROW Awards was launched this year to recognize game-changers in advancing agriculture in the region. It was conferred by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) Philippines in partnership with Go Negosyo and supported by the Department of Agriculture.
JFC Chief Executive Officer and President Ernesto Tanmantiong receives the award from ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines Chairman Jose Ma. Concepcion III and Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
One of JFC’s initiatives geared towards inclusive business is Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP). The program helps smallholder farmers become agro-entrepreneurs who can supply directly to corporate buyers such as JFC.
Since 2008, FEP has trained more than 2,000 farmers, 600 of which are directly delivering to JFC commissaries or stores through 15 farmer cooperatives. They supply high-value crops such as onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, lemon and chili, comprising about 20% of JFC’s total vegetable requirements. These have a gross value of more than a million dollars a year.
Key to assisting smallholder farmers in becoming agri-entrepreneurs is the support of agri-enterprise facilitators based in institutions such as local government units, non-government organizations or microfinance institutions. These partners help the program become more efficient and sustainable by organizing, training and coaching farmer clusters towards collective marketing.
One of JGF’s FEP partners, Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative from Cebu, was awarded as a finalist for the Inspiring Cooperative AGROW Award. Their member farmers directly supply Chowking restaurants in Metro Cebu.
JFC CEO and President Ernesto Tanmantiong (standing, 5th from right) with JGF and some of its partners who also attended the Summit. Beside him is Ms. Ellen Limocon, Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative General Manager, who received the award for the Cooperative.
During the summit attended by more than 2,000 delegates, JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson presented FEP as a leading example of how smallholder farmers are empowered, and in the process champion rural development and the agriculture industry.
JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson joins a panel of ASEAN businesses practicing the 3Ms (mentorship, market, and money) model in helping smallholder farmers.
“From our 10 years of experience, we have learned that entering into direct sourcing arrangement with smallholder farmers entails not only resources, but more importantly, a long-term vision that will see beyond the current state of inefficiency smallholders find themselves in,” Tiongson said.
“Strengthening the farmers’ innate capacity as entrepreneurs to supply, negotiate and compete with other regular suppliers of the company requires patience, a good understanding of the problems of smallholder agriculture, and the ability to partner with other like-minded groups,” she added.
Together with various partners, JGF is expanding FEP to reach more farmers, especially the youth.
As part of its Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), JGF recently strengthened its partnership with Cebu-based Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC) to establish an AE training center in 2019 for facilitators in Visayas and Mindanao. AE Facilitators will teach and coach farmer groups on collective marketing so they can directly supply to institutional buyers such as Jollibee Foods Corp. Signing the Memorandum of Agreement are JGF President Grace Tan Caktiong, and LMPC Chairman Richard Obaner. Joining them (standing from left) are JGF Trustee Marissa Camacho; JGF Vice President Belen Rillo; LMPC Farmer Cluster Leader Ligaya Miras; and LMPC Head of Business Development Justine Lynn Limocon.
Thirty-two trainers from LGUs and other organizations recently completed the first Farmer Entrepreneurship Program Agro-enterprise Training (AgenT) for Change, which resulted in the formation of nine new farmer groups that will supply various vegetables to institutional buyers such as Jollibee Foods Corporation. Joining the graduates are (seated from L-R): Ma. Gisela Tiongson, JGF Executive Director; Belen Rillo, JGF Vice President; Mayor Erick Wagan, San Antonio, Quezon; Mayor Cesar Isaac III, Guinayangan, Quezon; Grace Tan Caktiong, JGF President; Mayor Joselito Guyguyon, Kiangan, Ifugao; Dr. Lloyd Bautista, STI Educational Services Group VP for Academic Services; Maria Isabel Hipolito, STI Educational Services Group Assistant VP for Academic Research; and Connie Andrada, STI Foundation Executive Director.
JGF recently welcomed new FEP partners who will help small farmers supply to institutional buyers such as Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), ensuring farmers meet standards and requirements thereby increasing their income. JGF Executive Director, Gisela Tiongson (seated, 4th from left) and Senior Program Manager Joey La’O (standing, 2nd from left) led the welcoming of new partners who were represented by (Seated from L-R) Vice Mayor Amie Hernan Oldez of Nagcarlan, Laguna; Mayor Jasmin Angelli Bautista of Magallanes, Cavite; Marlyn Sanogal of Negros Occidental; (Standing from L-R) Monette Martin of Antipolo City; Mamalyn Dion of Antipolo City; Councilor Honorato Nad of Oton, Iloilo; Mayor Jason Gonzales of Lambunao, Iloilo; Ernest Barreiro of Good Food Community, Inc.; Mayor Samuel Ocampo of San Luis, Batangas; Caroline Obalde of Lingap Para sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan, Inc.; Ignacio Dumantay of Albacopa Federation of Cooperatives; and Rosemarie Abaya and Flor Ortiz of Cabanatuan City.
Reaping what they sow, the members of KALASAG Farmers Producers Cooperative in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija was recently granted a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certificate by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI) for white onions, confirming that the cooperative ensures food quality and safety.
The GAP standards enable farmers to address different aspects of on-farm production and post-production processes that result in safe and quality agricultural products. It covers food safety, consistent quality produce, worker’s health, safety and welfare, and environmental management.
BPI inspected KALASAG farms last February for GAP qualification. A month after, BPI and DA qualified 41 KALASAG farmers for the GAP certification. “We told them that GAP certification is just simple, they just need to be more careful when it comes to the safety of their products. The farmers were very optimistic about it even though it seemed impossible for them at first. In fact, they are the first cooperative in the country to receive GAP certificates,” said DA Region III GAP Inspector Angel Tulabut.
“We are happy to be regarded as ‘Certified GAP Farmers’. Our market will surely expand and we can now enter the international market because we already met the standards,” said KALASAG member Ferdinand Gomez of the certification.
Of this, KALASAG General Manager Wencelito Gomez explained, “We hope this serves as an inspiration to other farmer groups. The GAP accreditation will help improve their farming practices and their lives. We hope that the day will come when all farmers will have improved lives. And we thank Jollibee Group Foundation for helping us reach our dreams.”
Bridging the GAP
KALASAG is one of the first partners of Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) in its Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), which aims to help smallholder farmers achieve a more sustainable livelihood and increase their income by linking them to the supply chain of institutional markets like Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). KALASAG has been regularly supplying white onions to JFC since 2009. In 2016, KALASAG delivered close to 500 metric tons of white onions to the food service company.
KALASAG learned about GAP through JGF and decided to make GAP accreditation one of their main projects. “JGF helped us through trainings on leadership and agro-enterprise, and giving us an option for a sure market. We are also able to use all the knowledge that we learned from FEP in our transactions with other institutional buyers and get more opportunities that help us and our community“, said KALASAG Chairman Arnold Dizon.
JGF has been implementing FEP since 2008 and has trained more than 1,800 farmers. Twelve farmer groups from Luzon and Visayas regularly supply to JFC, and have delivered more than 2,000 metric tons of vegetables to the company. FEP has proven that by combining the elements of market, finance, and agro-enterprise clustering, farmers could meet the volume, quality and timeliness requirements of institutional buyers.