For farmers like Albencencio Regodos, Jr. and other members of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer Livelihood Recovery Program is a big help as they recover from the impact of typhoons and disasters.
MANILA, Philippines. – Out of the 193 countries evaluated for the 2022 World Risk Index report, the Philippines ranked first based on the risk of experiencing disaster or vulnerability to extreme natural events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and drought.
Jointly developed with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security, the report is published by the Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft and the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at Ruhr University Bochum.
To help smallholder farmers who are greatly affected by natural disasters, Jollibee Group Foundation—the social development arm of Jollibee Group—established the Farmer Livelihood Recovery Program (FLRP) as part of its pioneering Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP).
“Vulnerability to extreme weather events is one of the many challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the country. FLRP provides seedlings and fertilizers to help replace crops damaged by typhoons. Our FEP partner farmers also gain access to trainings on farm management, including risk mitigation, and agro-enterprise which are also offered by our partner organizations,” said Jollibee Group Foundation Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.
FEP also teaches farmers to use planting calendars to avoid oversupply of crops. To help them cater to bigger markets and earn more, the farmers are also encouraged to focus on specific vegetables that are most common to corporate buyers such as lettuce, Chinese cabbage, and spring onions.
High stakes for farmers
Even with all the planning and preparations, farmers continue to face challenges in managing extreme weather events that are beyond their control.
In fact, the Philippine Statistics Authority reports that the agriculture industry sustained 63% of the damage caused by extreme weather events from 2000 to 2019
Farmer Albencencio Regodos, Jr. shares, “Malaki ang naging epekto sa amin dahil lahat ng pananim namin ay sinira ng bagyong Odette. Walang natira, pati bahay namin giniba. Lahat ng mga kasamahan namin ay hirap din sa pagbangon. (We were greatly affected because all our crops were ruined by Typhoon Odette. Nothing was left, even our house was destroyed. The other farmers were also having a hard time to recover).”
Regodos is a member of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC), one of the 17 FEP farmer groups regularly supplying to Jollibee Group. The farmers of LMPC in Cebu are among the beneficiaries of FLRP. The program has helped Regolos and some 250 farmers recover from the wrath of Super Typhoon Odette, which brought torrential winds and rains to the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021. Super Typhoon Odette was also recorded as the second costliest typhoon in the Philippines, following Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
Like Regodos, Jeffrey Velasquez, also an LMPC member, has experienced similar struggles. Worse, some of their crops were almost ready for harvesting when the super typhoon suddenly hit their province.
“Parang zero kami no’n—hanapbuhay, mga bahay—lahat sira-sira. Malaki talaga ang impact sa amin. Iyong mga pananim namin nabunot dahil sa malakas na hangin. ‘Yung buong lupa namin napuno ng tubig. Dalawang buwan bago natuyo at nawala ‘yung tubig. (It felt like we went back to zero because our livelihoods, our houses, everything was destroyed. It had a huge impact on us. The strong winds pulled out our crops. The whole plain was filled with water, and it took two months before it dried out),” he recalled.
Velasquez’s cluster plants Chinese cabbage, spring onions, and bell peppers which the farmers directly deliver to Chowking and Jollibee stores in Cebu. In most cases, after the onslaught of a typhoon, farmers try to save and sell whatever is still left but Super Typhoon Odette destroyed everything.
Farming is the only livelihood that both Regodos and Velasquez can rely on but this typhoon, by far, was one of the most difficult challenges they had to face. Their losses prompted both farmers to borrow money from relatives and other lending institutions to initially fund the recovery of their farmlands and continuously provide for their families.
Road to recovery
For Velasquez, FLRP has successfully responded to the needs of the farmers. “Iyon ang hinihingi ng farmers, abono at seeds. Kapag may libreng seeds, sumisipag silang magtanim. Pinakatulong ito para bumalik ang sigla nila. (Seeds and fertilizers are what the farmers are asking for. If there are free seedlings, they are determined to work harder. That’s the greatest help to boost their morale),” Velasquez added.
In general, Regodos is thankful to be part of FEP, saying, “Dahil sa FEP, hindi na kami nahihirapan magtinda ng aming produkto. Masaya ako kasi hindi na kami nahihirapan maghanap ng buyers para sa produkto naming, (Because of FEP, we are no longer experiencing difficulties in marketing our products. I’m happy because it’s no longer hard to find buyers for our products).”
Jollibee Group remains committed to helping address smallholder farmers’ needs and give them the opportunity to recover and improve their livelihoods. “We also help empower farmers to learn ways to gain access to low-cost loans and explore crop insurance options that can support them in their recovery,” said Tiongson.
“These days, they are steadily rebuilding their farmlands and other damaged properties. The farmers are making use of every help they’ve received to achieve full recovery as soon as possible,” Tiongson added.
More recently, JGF in partnership with Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. provided assistance to 23 farmers in Laguna and Tanay who were severely affected by Typhoon Paeng that hit the region in October 2022.
Jeffrey Velasquez, also a member of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative, is grateful to JGF for providing them with seeds and fertilizers that helped them bounce back from the effects of the typhoon.
About Jollibee Group
Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC, also known as Jollibee Group) is one of the fastest-growing restaurant companies in the world. Its mission is to serve great-tasting food and bring the joy of eating to everyone through its 17 brands with close to 6,500 stores across 34 countries including the Philippines, United States, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.
The Jollibee Group has eight wholly owned brands (Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Smashburger); five franchised brands (Burger King, Panda Express, PHO24, and Yoshinoya in the Philippines, and Tim Ho Wan in certain territories in China); 80% ownership of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; 60% ownership in the SuperFoods Group that owns Highlands Coffee and PHO24; and 51% ownership of Milksha, a popular Taiwanese bubble tea brand.
The Jollibee Group, through its subsidiary Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. (JWPL) owns 90% participating interest in Titan Dining LP, a private equity fund that owns the Tim Ho Wan brand. The Jollibee Group has a joint venture with the THW Group to open and operate THW restaurants in Mainland China. It also has a business venture with award-winning Chef Rick Bayless for Tortazo, a Mexican fast-casual restaurant business in the United States.
The Jollibee Group has launched its global sustainability agenda dubbed Joy for Tomorrow, which aims to strengthen the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices. The agenda centers on the key pillars of Food, People, and Planet, and consists of 10 focus areas namely: food safety, food quality, nutrition & transparency, employee welfare, farmers livelihood, community support, good governance, packaging & recycling, waste reduction, and energy & water efficiency. Each focus area sets goals and initiatives that contribute and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The Jollibee Group was named the Philippines’ most admired company by the Asian Wall Street Journal for ten years. It was also honored as one of Asia’s Fab 50 Companies and among the World’s Best Employers and World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies by Forbes. The company is also a two-time recipient of Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award, making it the only Philippine-based company to receive the distinction.
To learn more about Jollibee Group, visit www.jollibeegroup.com
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