Indige­nous farm­ers to pro­duce world-class cof­fee

Agriculture - - Contents -

ZERO EX­TREME POVERTY 2030 (ZEP 2030) re­cently or­ga­nized the first-ever Cof­fee Fest 2018, gather­ing indige­nous peo­ples (IPs) who have taken up cof­fee farm­ing, with the goal of in­creas­ing their pro­duc­tion in prepa­ra­tion for com­mer­cial de­mand. This way, ZEP 2030 aims to build a sus­tain­able source of liveli­hood for IPs, IP fam­i­lies who com­prise a fifth of the 1 mil­lion extremely poor fam­i­lies tar­geted by the coali­tion.

The Philip­pines is only one of the few coun­tries that pro­duce four kinds of com­mer­cially used cof­fee: Ro­busta, Ex­celsa, Ara­bica, and Liber­ica (Barako). Many IP com­mu­ni­ties cul­ti­vate cof­fee along with other crops, in or­der to max­i­mize the po­ten­tial of their an­ces­tral lands for eco­nomic gain. Cof­fee is also one of the premium crops that they can sell at a higher value.

The Cof­fee Fest, held in part­ner­ship with SM Bi­cu­tan, brought re­source per­sons who in­ter­acted with cof­fee farm­ers from seven IP groups from six lo­cal­i­ties: Apayao, Benguet, Bukid­non, Maguin­danao, Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, and Davao Del Sur, show­ing the lat­ter the huge mar­ket po­ten­tial of pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity cof­fee beans in the lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

ZEP 2030, com­posed of civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions (CSOs), is a move­ment that tar­gets to help one mil­lion fam­i­lies from ex­treme poverty in the Philip­pines by 2030. The move­ment is or­ga­nized into seven clus­ters—health, ed­u­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, liveli­hood, agri­cul­ture and fish­eries, hous­ing and shel­ter, and part­ner­ships with indige­nous peo­ples—work­ing in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion pro­grams. Through these in­ter­ven­tions, ZEP has sought to achieve so­cial jus­tice and self-suf­fi­ciency for IP com­mu­ni­ties.

ZEP 2030 opened doors to IP cof­fee farm­ers to work with agri­cul­tur­ists in iden­ti­fy­ing the right va­ri­ety of cof­fee to grow, con­sid­er­ing their land’s el­e­va­tion and soil type. The farm­ers also re­ceived in­for­ma­tion and in­struc­tion on pest erad­i­ca­tion and dis­ease pro­tec­tion, best prac­tices on berry pick­ing and pulp­ing, proper stor­age, roast­ing meth­ods, and pack­ag­ing. They were also in­tro­duced to prod­uct mar­ket­ing and brand­ing to make their end prod­ucts more ap­peal­ing to con­sumers. Prod­ucts from the IP farm­ers helped by ZEP 2030 are cur­rently show­cased at Ad­vo­cafe, a café and restau­rant that di­rects100% of its in­come to ca­pac­ity-build­ing pro­grams for IPs. ZEP 2030 is look­ing for other op­por­tu­ni­ties to dis­trib­ute the cof­fee prod­ucts more widely.

“Aside from teach­ing IPs best prac­tices and new tech­nolo­gies in cof­fee pro­duc­tion, we bring lo­cal cof­fee prod­ucts closer to the con­sumers. Cre­at­ing a ready mar­ket for the prod­ucts of IP farm­ers en­sures that they have a steady stream of in­come,” said ZEP 2030 Head of Sec­re­tariat Ben­jamin Aba­di­ano.

Also dur­ing the event, Philip­pine Cof­fee Board (PCB) Pres­i­dent and Co-Chair­man Chit Juan shared her in­sights and views on how these prod­ucts could ef­fec­tively pen­e­trate the main­stream mar­ket. Juan also pledged PCB’s as­sis­tance to the IP farm­ers in terms of train­ing and grad­ing the cof­fee.

“Cof­fee pro­duc­tion from IP com­mu­ni­ties can boost the Philip­pines’ cof­fee in­dus­try fur­ther. The va­ri­ety, qual­ity, and even the story or jour­ney of the cof­fee they grow can give us the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage over other cof­fee-pro­duc­ing coun­tries,” said Juan.

ZEP 2030’s Cof­fee Fest 2018 was also made pos­si­ble by the Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Lead­er­ship De­vel­op­ment Academy, As­sisi De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, Ad­vo­cafe, Fides Foun­da­tion, and the Peace and Eq­uity Foun­da­tion.

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