First Harvest

First Harvest: Community-based Food Production

Bulacan, PhilippinesBulacan, Philippines
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

First Harvest is a social enterprise that creates a replicable template for community-based toll manufacturing of food products. Partnering with Gawad Kalinga, it aims to provide employment opportunities in their countryside housing projects resulting to sustainable community development.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if 2500 families in 25 farms in the Philippines are empowered by community-based food toll manufacturing templates?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Philippines is an agricultural country blessed with fertile land. However, due to agricultural deprioritization, opportunities in rural areas thinned, thereby resulting to urban migration. Vast rural lands are left idle, Filipino farmers remain poor, and food insecurity is a persistent threat. There is opportunity to put Philippines back on the map as a top agricultural producer. The problem is just as big as the opportunity we failed to capture.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

First Harvest aims to create scalable food processing facilities in 25 farms in major provinces the Philippines. We've partnered with Gawad Kalinga, an NGO that has gained global credence, to equip us with the needed network. These toll-manufacturing plants will serve as local hubs for product development to increase the value of raw agricultural produce into highly profitable commodities. First Harvest is a grassroots solution that aims to arrest poverty and its symptoms. It empowers the socially disadvantaged through an agri-based inclusive asset-building value chain. This creates a competitive agricultural business model, where consumers and businesses also benefit from addressing food security, quality, and nutrition concerns.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

First Harvest locally sources its ingredients, materials, and provides employment opportunities. Our flagship products are peanut butters, and the peanuts are purchased from the local market. We also use honey as a sweetener, and it is sourced from local bee farmers in the rural market. It envisions self-contained production facilities where the ingredients produced by the farm are utilised as ingredients for common market commodities. A chunk of its profits is continuously invested into equipment and expansion to more farms. A major advocacy of the business is also investing in Human Assets through education and training and development. The consumer also benefits from products made from choice natural ingredients.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

First Harvest participates in empowering a community of 50 families. We have employed 12 breadwinner mothers from the farm. Our finished goods are sold by the community, where the shop also employs more people, and where profits are also reinvested into community development. First Harvest has mentored 6 business interns from Paris, Japan, and South Korea. Envisioning a self-supporting supply chain, we have started our 2 hectare test plot in the GK Enchanted Farm. Our mothers are involved in product development. Their children too, are all under scholarship support from the farm. First Harvest has a college scholarship program where the graduates will be mentored to become quality company managers who know the intricacies of the business so that they too can be empowered decision-makers. Ecological safety is ensured by using natural biodegradable ingredients.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

First Harvest targets entry to four product lines, namely, dips, sauces, dressings, and spreads. This is to ensure that other agricultural produce are also used to manufacture profitable finished goods. At the end of the year, we are eyeing a distribution outlet that is projected to deliver 10,000 unit sales, and by next year, we would have entered major retail stores in the country. In five years, First Harvest would have empowered at least 10,000 people from 25 communities comprising at least 100 families. It will export its products to help address global food insecurity.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Operating as a social enterprise, revenues from sales of the products are ensured to have healthy profit margins that can cover for the business' operational expenses and also fund the business for expansion. Investing in Human Asset Development, the children in the community benefit from scholarship, and legal-aged residents are given on-the-job training so that we can groom and engage them as our future company leaders and managers.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

GK Enchanted Farm is a village university that serves as a social enterprise incubator. Its revenues are generated by bringing in people from the metro, to enjoy the services and products in the farm. First Harvest is different in the sense that it does the reverse by distributing and marketing the products from the farm to the metro. Other enterprises also tap into agricultural produce, such as Golden Duck, and Gourmet Keso. These other enterprises focus on poultry, cattle, and dairy sectors. First Harvest focuses on utilising herbs, plants and crops.

Founding Story

A jar of unlabelled peanut butter was given by the co-founder, Tajen. It was surprisingly delicious, and the jar was finished clean the next day. This was an evidence that the produce of the community had market potential. Catherine and Nico, together with Tajen, jumped in and established First Harvest to share their skills in crafting brand DNA and design equity, and running a social business. There is a growing market for natural products in the Philippines, and we are working parallel to maximize the business potential of capturing this demand. Working closely with GK Enchanted Farm, First Harvest is one of the incubated Social Enterprises which aims to contribute to the solution for ending systemic poverty, sustainably.


Catherine Patacsil - Marketing and Communications; Tajen Sui - Production Manager and CFO; Nico Encarnacion - Brand Design Equity; Joni Gail Morales - Community Development and Oranization; Alvie Benitez - Social Entrepreneur and Consultant; The team is composed of passionate and results-driven members with different core competencies to ensure that the essential business functions are satisfactorily accomplished.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Bulacan

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Bulacan

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, Businesses, Customers.


Sustainable Sourcing, Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our main recepients of this solution are the community partners, who are in need of employment opportunities. We work with them, not only as employees, but empowered as business partners. In a span of seven months, they have seen the potential of this business, and have been committed to meeting product demand. As the organization is young, one of the founders work full-time in the community to oversee the processes. We reinvest our income back to the community through equipment, facility and scholarship.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

Our current pressure point would be having a proper toll manufacturing facility. We will make use of the prize to purchase equipment, and to expand the production facility inside the farm. The money can also be used to purchase a delivery vehicle to transport the finished product on a more regular basis, from the farm, to the metro.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

I currently work in another social enterprise and has contributed to its scaling-up. My successful projects include branding our boutiques to have a uniform shopping experience in our franchises. I have also revised the earning scheme of the company, that has improved franchisees' profit margins from 17% to 24%.

In First Harvest, we have propelled an increase in sales as our monthly unit sales grew from 180 to 1000 units every month.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?


Will you require a visa to enter the UK?


Are you are a current Unilever employee?