Juca Lacsina

The agriculture sector in the Philippines is a pillar of the national economy, employing 20% of the nation’s workforce and contributing to nearly 1/10th the country’s annual GDP.

Yet, the industry remains highly fragmented and lightly digitized, resulting in rampant price opacity and convoluted supply chains, inhibiting progress for farmers, suppliers, service providers, and consumers alike. Juca Lacsina, raised in a farming village in Tarlac, witnessed these challenges firsthand. The lack of innovation in agriculture, coupled with a growing sense of distrust among farmers towards a flawed and often corrupt system, fueled her determination to act. Driven by the desire to empower the sector that “fed [her] family, put food on [their] table, and sent [her] to university,” Juca set out to create GoEden— a one-stop online marketplace for the efficient delivery of agriculture inputs and services. The platform connects farmers to various suppliers, streamlining the canvassing, sourcing, purchasing, and transporting of agriculture supplies. GoEden empowers farmers with access to technology, information, and options, especially impactful to those operating in remote and rural localities. Their ultimate goal? To establish a sustainable, inter-linked agro system in the Philippines.  

The Founding Story

Juca has always admired the resilience and grit of Filipino farmers. “The work of a farmer,” she noted, “is very hard and labor-intensive, they continuously plant even when there are seasons of losses from pests and typhoons.” Despite having access to less, farmers would always offer food, a hot cup of coffee, and fruits from the trees to her and her family, Juca recounts. These small acts of kindness revealed important characteristics about the human condition to Juca, who made a promise to herself to one day reciprocate the goodwill shown to her by these humble farmers by uplifting their lives and amplifying their voices. GoEden’s founding team got together in university: Juca met Jim and Nathan at the University of the Philippines (Los Banos) for undergrad and Norenece and Peter while studying for her Masters in the US. "We started with so many ideas scribbled on napkins in coffee shops," Juca recalls. The ideas that emerged from their countless brainstorming sessions and animated discussions eventually coalesced into a focused plan. GOEden arose as the most feasible concept, supported by data from early interviews and potential customer journey mapping with over 200 farmers. The pandemic further substantiated the validity of their mission as it highlighted the urgency of addressing agricultural supply chain challenges. With a grant from SEARCA, they took their first steps toward realizing their vision, marking the beginning of GOEden's journey from concept to reality.

GoEden began working with Kaya Founders in early 2023. Juca reflects warmly on Kaya’s unwavering support for their mission since their earliest days, even when the team had “little to offer on the table other than [their] courage and ideas.” "Kaya supports us through mentoring that is always intentional," Juca remarks. "They are able to connect us to the right people and network, but beyond that, they have always been our biggest cheerleader, people who believe in our short-term and long-term vision for the agri-sector in the country." Such steadfast support has strengthened their confidence and enabled them to continuously meet any challenge that comes their way. Underscoring the transformative impact of Kaya's guidance on her approach to decision-making, Juca asserts, "I have learned to be even more thorough with our metrics and using data to drive business decisions, taking into account current growth without losing foresight of the runway, our long-term goals, and our values and aspirations.” Moreover, Juca praises the inclusive and supportive nature of the Kaya team. "People are always kind, approachable, and accommodating, and it never felt like they were an outsider looking in. They are always willing to share their expertise and they also remind us how much they also learn from us."  

GoEden’s Vision for the Future

Juca articulates GoEden’s near term focus on doubling down on their B2B and B2C segments to strengthen their positioning across the industry. She envisions GoEden developing into "a household brand in the agriculture sector that enforces and ensures the highest quality of standard on agricultural supplies." Juca explains that their unwavering commitment to quality and innovation is essentially for their long term goals of “becoming one of the biggest changemakers in the space, ensuring that through quality agri-supplies, GoEden contributes to farmers’ productivity and profitability.”Central to this vision is the empowerment of farmers through technology, with Juca emphasizing that she wants “ the GoEden experience to have a mirror platform for B2B and B2C but with unique checkout experience offering financial support through BNPL solutions for both farmers and B2B clients." However, this ambition goes beyond commerce: it extends to addressing systemic issues within the agricultural industry. Juca stresses, "With sufficient growth at GoEden, we hope to address other problems of the nodes of the value chain such as financing, crop insurance, and demand-based cropping systems to avoid excess in production." This holistic approach includes a commitment to transparency and integrity, exemplified by the aspiration for a sector where "farmers are fully informed when making purchasing decisions and supported directly with science-based recommendations." Through these endeavors, GOEden hopes to not only transform the agricultural marketplace but to also uplift farming communities nationwide.