“Hayaan nyo, gagawin namin ang lahat ng makakaya namin para may nakakain tayo.”
These words mean a lot to a farmer named Greg, whom I was able to meet at the recently held Jollibee FEP Youth Challenge in Rizal, Laguna.
Founded in 2008, Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) envisions to help farmers earn more by introducing advanced farming technologies and training and helping them become direct crop producers of Jollibee Food Corporation products. Farmers often face the problem of having their produce sold to middlemen at a lower price compared to how it is priced in the market. With this program, farmers will not only earn more but will also become adept in using new farming tools and technologies through trainings and also become more knowledgeable in preparing their produce to be competitive in the market.
Our group, Tanumbotics, is proud to have been selected to be funded a project that will hopefully help farmers become more productive in their farming by integrating and using our final product in their farming communities. We were really not expecting our team to be selected as we prepared everything a the last minute—from the registration form, up to the video pitch. It was really a challenge for us to make our application as it was finals week back then and we had to work on our final requirements and exams. Our efforts were not put to waste when we finally knew that our team, together with to other teams from our university, was selected and was invited to join Jollibee FEP Youth Challenge Bootcamp in Rizal, Laguna. There are a total of seven participating universities around the country and twenty projects that will be competing for the challenge.
The team planned to develop UmaBOT, an agricultural drone aimed to monitor farming lands and provide analysis of crop health, crop count, and possible crop infestation. Farmers often face the dilemma of not being able to check their farmlands. The reason of this is primarily because of the size of their fields and farmers do not check their crops after they have planted them—they only check them prior to or on the day of the harvest. To implement an efficient, effective, and smart monitoring tool, Tanumbotics hopes to solve and address this concern at the end of the development period to develop a crop monitoring drone powered with Image Processing and Machine Learning. The crop monitoring drone can monitor large areas of farmland and consistently informs the farmer of any possible crop infestation like fungi, diseases, and pest through text messaging.
At the bootcamp, we had a lot of activities that are aimed to help us in making our project. The speakers focused on identifying the need statement of our project that our user will possibly need. Our team also learned how to conceptualize our project idea by using design-thinking and prototyping method, emphasizing the need of having a preview of how the final project output will look like by developing a miniature sample or by writing the project design in detail.
On the second day of the bootcamp, we were given the opportunity to talk to our potential users which are farmers all over Luzon to listen to what they need and proposing our planned project idea to them. It is a very lucky opportunity for us to converse with farmers who have been farming for a long time already. They have suggested points of improvement, and we gladly accept their constructive feedback. Also that time we were able to meet Greg, a farmer of old age, where he uttered words that struck us the most—“Hayaan nyo, gagawin namin ang lahat ng makakaya namin para may nakakain tayo.” I was teary-eyed that time and I came to realize how farmers are really important in our everyday lives: providing food for everyone. Without our farmers, we will not be able to buy fruits and vegetables that we need in every day. After hearing those words, our team became enthused and challenged to pursue the project that will benefit our farmers.
The Jollibee FEP Youth Challenge Bootcamp was an eye-opening experience for me and my teammates. By listening to farmers and how much they need advanced farming techniques to better their production, we also have gained ideas as to how we can improve our project in the long run. We need to help our farmers and by developing an innovative product for crop monitoring and analysis, we envision to help them better their farm production.
Just recently, our project was granted a Category A funding which means that we will be funded with Php 100,000 amount of seed fund for our project. And now it’s time to turn our ideas into reality. We are so excited to start working our project and to find out other projects from other participating schools. Together let’s be #FEPYouthfortheFarmers.
The project is still on-going and I would love to know what you think about our project. Feel free to send me an e-mail at email@example.com. I’d be very happy the read them. You may also visit Tanumbotics’ website by visiting tanumbotics.github.io.