Sean Kelly Dagusen is one of the 50 agro-entrepreneurship scholars of the Jollibee Group Foundation for 2022. As part of its commitment to promote agriculture to the youth, the JGF has already provided agriculture technical-vocational skills training scholarships to 380 underprivileged youth since 2020.
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The Philippines’ farming population is growing older, raising concerns on who will carry out this critical task in the coming years. The country’s Department of Agriculture cites that the average age of the Filipino farmer is 53 years old and puts the sustainability of the country’s agriculture sector at risk.
To continue encouraging the youth to be engaged and employed in the agriculture sector, the Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) provides scholarships to agro-enterprise courses for young farmers. These scholarships are in support of JGF’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), which trains smallholder farmer groups on agro-entrepreneurship, business, and leadership to build their capacities to collectively supply vegetables that meet the standards and requirements of corporate buyers, while ensuring profit.
“I want to be a farmer because I want to help my father, who is a farmer. Thanks to the scholarship, I have learned how to improve our farm and turn it into a sustainable business that provides more income to our family,” said Sean Kelly T. Dagusen, Youth Farmer and Agro-entrepreneurship Scholar.
“Since its launch in 2008, we continue to expand the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program’s reach to more farmers, partners, and the youth to help steer the agriculture sector toward sustainability. We want to show the youth that there are fulfilling opportunities in the farming sector, especially as agro-entrepreneurs,” said JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.
The Foundation has provided some 380 youth with agriculture technical-vocational skills training scholarships. In 2021, JGF beefed up this initiative by launching one of the country’s first Agro-enterprise National Certificate II Technical-Vocational Course. This was co-developed with Don Bosco and accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Fifty underprivileged youth were provided with scholarships to participate in the said course, 25 of whom were trained by Don Bosco Training Center in Mati City, the other half is provided through the Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative community-based training center in Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur.
“While we address the problems caused by the pandemic, it is imperative for us in the development sector to continue our efforts in equipping our farmers with new concepts of agriculture and business. Through this, we can maximize our production and access to the value chain despite the looming threat on the shortage of farmers,” Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative Chief Executive Officer Jaime D. Galanta said.
This year, JGF will expand the coverage of scholarships through other centers, including community centers and other technical-vocational schools.
“We want to help farmers earn more by engaging them not only in production, but also in collective marketing. Farmers, especially the young ones, need partners who can journey with them in envisioning and building their agro-enterprises,” Tiongson added.
To date, FEP farmers have delivered close to 9 million kilos of vegetables to the Jollibee Group, equivalent to more than USD7 million worth of sales. As of 2021, nearly 20% of the close to 600 FEP farmers from 17 farmer groups directly supplying vegetables to the Jollibee Group belong to the youth sector.
The Jollibee Group Foundation’s agro-enterprise scholarships help young farmers sharpen their technical skills and business acumen so that they can become agro-entrepreneurs capable of supplying institutional buyers such as the Jollibee Group.