Fast food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. is pushing for the expansion to the Visayas this year of the farmers entrepreneurship program (FEP), which is being implemented in partnership with civil society and the government.
Jollibee Group Foundation is taking part in the FEP for the fifth year along with American humanitarian agency Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and state-run National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC).
Launched in 2008, the FEP is aimed at enabling small farmers to increase their income through agro-enterprise. This is being done with the help of CRS, for training; NLDC, access to finance and Jollibee, market influence.
Jennifer Remoquillo, national coordinator of the Department of Agriculture’s high-value crops development program, said in an interview that the FEP helped farmers who grow garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, calamansi, hot pepper, various vegetables and cacao.
Remoquillo said the FEP linked small farmers to the supply chains of institutional buyers like Jollibee and other large consumers of farm produce.
“The FEP this year covers 24 sites across the nation, including five in the Visayas,” she said.
The official was referring to farms in San Jose, Antique; Leon and Alimodian, both in Iloilo; Canlaon City in Negros Occidental, and Cebu City.
The rest of the sites are spread across Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Nueva Viscaya, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and Agusan del Sur.
Remoquillo said the FEP was securing some P8.15 million in funding from the agriculture department to support training-related events and distribution of agricultural inputs and materials.
“Six hundred small farmers are able to directly supply institutional markets,” she said.