Jollibee Group, DA Help Farmers Gain Business Skills for Sustainable Livelihood

Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have forged a partnership to promote the agro-enterprise clustering approach across the country to empower smallholder farmers to become farmer-entrepreneurs. Photo shows representatives from DA Regional Field Office 8 and JGF coaching a farmer group in Alangalang, Leyte.

MANILA, Philippines. September 7, 2022 – Jollibee Group’s social responsibility arm, Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have forged a partnership to promote JGF’s Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA) across the country. JGF’s AECA is an eight-step process that aims to teach smallholder farmers so they can acquire business skills for a more sustainable livelihood.

Under the partnership, 15 DA-regional field offices would have at least two agro-enterprise facilitators trained to coach smallholder farmers on how to shift their mindset and practice from being individual producers to entrepreneurs in a strong cluster linked by a common business activity. The online training program, called “Agro-Entrepreneurship for Inclusive Agriculture Value Chains,” developed by JGF in partnership with Xavier University (XU) – Ateneo de Cagayan.

The online course merges theory and practice through the involvement of resource persons under JGF’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP). FEP uses the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach to assist farmer groups supplying Jollibee Group and other markets. Since 2008, FEP has trained over 3,000 farmers and helped 17 farmer groups become accredited suppliers of Jollibee Group.

“Our partnership with DA is a way to help more smallholder farmers become agro-entrepreneurs and boost their economic activities, something that the Jollibee Group has been practicing through our Farmer Entrepreneurship Program. With the integration of the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach in the DA’s Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program, more smallholder farmers are reached and assisted,” said JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.

Big gains so far

In partnership with Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), Department of Agriculture regional offices underwent an online course on the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA) to help more farmers become agro-entrepreneurs. AECA is used in JGF’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program, which has equipped farmers with business skills to supply corporate markets such as Jollibee Group.

The course is composed of an introductory and intermediate course for participants to learn the eight-step Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach.

Since its roll out in 2021, a total of 167 agro-enterprise facilitators from 84 organizations have completed the introductory course. Aside from DA, other participants were from local government units, non-government organizations, financing institutions, farmer cooperatives and associations, social enterprises, and the academe.

The introductory course provides an overview of the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach and focuses on the first three (3) steps in organizing farmers as a cluster and establishing their business. Currently, the course graduates have trained 1,758 farmers and formed 138 clusters.

The DA Regional Field Office (RFO) VIII sent several participants to the course.

“Usually, our interventions for farmers tend to focus on technical aspects or provision of farm inputs. Ang maganda sa Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach, hindi lang ito tungkol sa kung paano makakaani nang mabuti ang farmers, talagang naka focus ito sa kung paano sila matutulungan na makabenta at kumita,” (The good thing about Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach is it’s not just about how farmers can harvest well, it is really focused on how to help them sell and earn),” said Agriculturist Melvince Martirez.

Through training, the DA-RFO VIII team have already provided farmers knowledge on preparing for collective marketing and essential tools such as production module, supply plan, and buyer’s comparison matrix.

According to DA RFO VIII, a total of 109 farmers trained in Alangalang, San Isidro, and Merida, Leyte have learned the value of computing for the production cost, as well as engaging with buyers to determine the most suitable market for their produce. They even have an “AECA Corner” in their office where they post documentations of their activities.

Looking to the future

In July 2022, JGF and XU rolled out the intermediate agro-entrepreneurship course for those who have showed satisfactory performance in the introductory course and have been successful in their agro-enterprise plan implementation. At the end of this course, participants are expected to learn how to develop an agro-enterprise plan, explore production technology vis-a-vis crop production cycle, and prepare for test marketing.