Elvin Jerome Laceda started his business Rice Up to help farmers earn more money by eliminating third-party sellers. A freshman biology major from the Philippines minoring in entrepreneurship, Laceda noticed issues in the Filipino agricultural system while growing up on his grandfather’s farm. “I would always see my grandfather in a dilemma during the harvest season because he was not receiving the compensation he had worked for and deserved,” he said.
Before attending BYUH, Laceda studied agriculture for two years in the Philippines. Marketability is the biggest issue he has focused on; he said farmers only receive a meager portion of the income they deserve based on what they have harvested.
Farming in the Philippines is the face of poverty, said Luceda. His desire is to change that idea and show farmers are capable of making the money they deserve while sustaining a comfortable lifestyle for themselves.
On January 20, Laceda and his team in the Philippines officially launched their Rice Up project to help farmers become self-sustainable. This project consists of three phases; consultation and trainings, farmers market, and evaluation.
One of Laceda’s current projects is developing an app that allows farmers to sell their products directly rather than going through third party sellers. “A designer in the Philippines is currently working on the graphics for the app. Our goal is to release the app in June.”
We have partnered with community leaders back in the Philippines to allow the farmers we are working with to hold a farmer’s market for the community. This will allow the farmers to connect with the community and sell their products directly. This will also bring awareness to the community of our project so when the app is launched they will know what they will be getting.”
Laceda has a team of BYUH students who meet every Thursday to work on the Rice Up project. The team communicates and works with another team back in the Philippines. Laceda went back to the Philippines during the break between Winter and Spring semesters to monitor progress and report back to his BYUH Rice Up team.
Rice Up was first presented at the Great Ideas Competition in November 2016. He then presented it at the Global Student Entrepreneurs regional competition on Jan. 26, 20107. Laceda was not able to provide the needed six months of experience prior to the competition. However, he was able to present his idea and receive feedback from the judges, which he said was a great growing opportunity. “I was grateful for the opportunity extended to me. I was able to present my idea to different CEO’s and be validated and receive feedback that is vital to my success.”