Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), the social responsibility arm of the Philippine fast-food giant 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’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.
Quoting a report from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), IBM Philippines said that the mean rainfall in the country ranges from 965 to 4,065 mm. According to Global Climate Risk Index 2021, extreme weather events cost the Philippines an average of $3.2 billion per year during 2000-2019. Extreme climate and tropical cyclones also impact crop yield in the Philippines.
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.
IBM in the Philippines has been delivering 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.
“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 GM of IBM Philippines.