Proponent Groups (PGs) of coffee enterprise subprojects implemented under the Department of Agriculture–Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in Kalinga and Mountain Province were trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Specialty Coffee from November 29 to December 3 and December 6 to 10, respectively.
The training was conducted in partnership with the Coffee Collective of the Philippines, Inc. (CCP), also known as the Philippine Coffee Guild (PCG), and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) – Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farmers Enterprise (PhilCAFE) Project to develop the knowledge and skills of the PGs on proper coffee production management protocols to improve coffee quality and generate higher incomes.
DA-PRDP National Project Director Undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan said in his message that the partnership between the PCG-CCP and ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Project intends to increase coffee production through capacity building activities that will improve productivity and yield higher incomes for coffee farmer beneficiaries.
“Let us all come together and share our best practices towards a vibrant coffee industry that will be known all over the world,” Usec. Cayanan expressed.
Additionally, the GAP training intends to introduce and cascade the Coffee Mentorship strategy of the PhilCAFE to the PGs, to achieve a wider reach of farmers in the use of appropriate practices; provide an experimental method of learning and adoption of farming practices and technology for coffee farmer beneficiaries and project implementers; and capacitate the farmers to qualify and enter local/international coffee competition to add more value for their coffee beans.
Participating PG representatives/coffee growers are from the lead and affiliate PGs of the Kalinga Integrated Coffee Processing and Marketing Enterprise and the Mountain Province Arabica Coffee Enterprise. The PGs of other DA-PRDP supported coffee enterprises in Mountain Province also participated in the training.
As part of the training program, discussions and field practicums on the following modules were conducted: coffee establishment care and maintenance; plant nutrition/fertilization; integrated pest and disease management; pruning and rejuvenation; farm planning; proper coffee harvesting and characterization; coffee postharvest processing methods; and green bean grading and cupping.
Several participating PGs expressed their gratitude towards the training conducted.
“Dakel ti maitulong na daytoy nga GAP training iti kape karkaro ta agrugrugi kami paylang ken tapnu amu mi ikasta mi nga mang improve ken mang aywan ti kakapean mi (this GAP training for coffee will greatly help us because we just started our coffee venture and also, we learned how to improve and care for our coffee production following GAP),” Aliwes Irrigators Association, Inc. President Luisa Salingbay said.
Aillehban Bendadan, an aspiring coffee processor and a member of the Sagada Coffee Growers Processing Organization (SACGPO), thanked the ACDI/VOCA, PCG, and the DA-PRDP for the training because they were able to learn good coffee practices hands-on.
“Ado ti naadal mi nga Good Agricultural Practices nga mang improve ti qualitin ti kape mi manipod panag mula, panag process, panag pili ti naluom nga kape, ken jay panag cupping ti kape tapnu maamuan mi raman ken angut na (we learned a lot of good agricultural practices to improve the quality of our coffee from planting, to postharvest processing, determining the ripeness of coffee, and cupping to be able to know the different tastes and odors of coffee),” Bendadan added.
Aside from the planting and postharvest processing methods, coffee cupping and sensory exercises were also facilitated by the PCG for the participants to appreciate their coffee and expound their knowledge on the taste and quality of coffee from various areas in the country including their coffee.
PCG Chairperson Ronald Yu encouraged the participants to practice and share what they have learned from the GAP training, urging them to participate in coffee quality competitions for an added value for their coffee beans.
“Your coffee has a potential to grade higher but it entails added effort and passion,” Chairperson Yu said.
In response, the participants expressed their eagerness to improve their coffee and their intent to join the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) soon.
ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Project Senior Field Technician Razul Dakiwas also encouraged the participants to practice what they have learned and share it to their fellow coffee grower members to improve the quality of their coffee and promote GAP for specialty coffee.
The PhilCAFE Coffee Mentors who are based in Kalinga and Mountain Province also contributed to the successful conduct of the training activities in both provinces.
The GAP training series for specialty coffee will be continued next year, to cover the other DA-PRDP assisted coffee enterprise PGs not only in the Cordilleras but in the whole country. By Elvy T. Estacio