Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), the social responsibility arm of the fast-growing restauranter Jollibee Group, has teamed up with IBM to help farmers in the Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan provinces improve crop yields with insights from The Weather Company.
JGF has been implementing the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program since 2008 to help smallholder farmers become agro-entrepreneurs who can collectively market their produce to institutional buyers such as the Jollibee Group. In implementing the program, JGF has learned that weather forecasting to monitor rainfall and flooding is critical for farmers so they could mitigate significant weather-related risks and costs. However, not many farmers have access to such information.
JGF and IBM’s Client Innovation Center PH, partnered since 2020 to provide farmers with access to more localized data (500 m x 500 m) daily and for the next 15 days. This helps them better decide when to plant, fertilize, harvest and deliver the fresh onions and other vegetables used in meals served in Jollibee Group restaurants, which results in better crop yields.
JGF also tapped Central Luzon State University to help in the analysis and translation of the data into day-to-day prescribed farm practices. To ensure that farmers without access to the internet and smart phones receive the weather data, JGF worked with local partners to develop mechanisms to disseminate the information among farmers. The SMS feature of the system is also being developed.
“JGF’s focus is on building capacities for communities, part of which is to provide business insights assisted by technology to help multiple farmers rediscover the joy in farming and the tools to make successful agribusiness,” said Gisela Tiongson, Executive Director, Jollibee Group Foundation. “High-quality ingredients have been key to Jollibee Group’s menus while smallholder farmers remain at the heart of fresh vegetables delivered to our clients’ meals, and the collaboration with IBM will lead to an even more sustainable agriculture and farming communities.”
IBM in the Philippines has been delivering precise forecasts models on humidity, moisture and anticipated rainfall to farmers for actionable insights. It is also delivering similar forecast models, together with AI and other new innovations from IBM Research for climate risk analytics and carbon accounting, to hundreds of companies across industries worldwide. The work of hundreds of Filipino data scientists and experts to bring insights and services to retailers, banks, farms, power plants and more would allow businesses to drill down into specific weather and climate issues that impact their operations. For example, a supermarket chain can now better understand how upcoming weather forecasts will affect the amount of energy needed to run refrigeration units, or a bank chain can help a client predict safer places to invest in real estate.
“JGF is today leading the way in leveraging data to help tackle weather and climate challenges, especially floods and rainfall that affect the agricultural sector of the Philippines,” said Aileen Judan-Jiao, President and Country General Manager of IBM Philippines. “Having spent my childhood summers in the rice fields in the north of the Philippines, it is my great pride today to see how advanced technology is able to help Filipino farmers make the right decisions on harvesting and improving their crop yields, with insights and services delivered by our Filipino talent.”
According to a report from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the mean rainfall in the country ranges from 965 to 4,065mm. According to Global Climate Risk Index 2021, extreme weather events cost the Philippines an average of US$ 3.2 billion per year during 2000-2019. Extreme climate and tropical cyclones also impact crop yield in the Philippines.