Thousands of smallhold farmers are growing onions and other crops for the giant fast food chain Jollibee, it was learned from Leonardo Cortez of the Jollibee Group Foundation. We met Leo at the Go Negosyo headquarters during the Taiwan-Philippine Agribusiness Forum on April 22, 2019.
The farmers who are called partners belong to 15 groups who could be members of a cooperative or farmers’ association. One big group is based in San Jose City in Nueva Ecija who grow white onion used in sandwiches, sauces and other preparations. Another group is based in Cebu who produce hot chilies for making hot sauce for Chow King, a member of the Jollibee group. Most of the partner groups, however, are located in Luzon.
The scheme works fine for both Jollibee and the farmers. Jollibee is assured of quality fresh farm produce that it requires. On the other hand, the farmers are assured of a buyer for their harvests at a price that is fair, making sure that they make a profit. Cortez explained that the price of a particular crop is negotiated on a monthly basis. The price that is agreed upon holds whether or not there is an upward or downward price movement.
The Jollibee Foundation undertakes training for the farmer partners so they will learn the improved techniques of growing high-quality crops that will meet the standards required by the fast food chain. Aside from crop production, the farmers are also taught how to manage their finances so that they learn how to save and invest their earnings.
Plans are being considered for the Jollibee Foundation to organize and train farmer-partners in Mindanao, according to Cortez.