MAINIT, Mountain Province – At least 60 coffee grower-members of Aliwes Irrigators’ Association, Inc. (AIAI) of Barangay Mainit of this town are set to benefit from the P11.12 million-worth start-up coffee consolidation, processing, and marketing enterprise subproject under the Department of Agriculture (DA) to further boost production of the high-value commodity.
Said enterprise subproject is being implemented through the DA’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) with the AIAI as the Proponent Group.
The DA-PRDP, through its Regional Project Coordination Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region (RPCO-CAR), formally issued the first No Objection Letter (NOL 1) to the association last year on December, which allowed them to proceed with the procurement process.
In an interview with the national radio station Radyo Pilipinas, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey explained the benefits of the subproject for the said coffee growers in terms of management and expansion of their production and marketing processes.
“Being consolidated or organized will give the coffee growers in this area [Bontoc] the opportunity to discuss and determine how they should handle their coffee produce and how these are to be sold and marketed,” Odsey said.
They, as an organized group, can also propose related projects to the government or private sectors for possible funding and/or assistance.
Odsey added that the farmers do not rely on coffee production alone as their source of income, considering the limitations primarily in production.
The harvested coffee also undergoes different processes until it is ready for marketing, namely roasting, grinding, and packaging, which requires dedicated resources and personnel. Also, coffee production in the Cordillera region is determined not by the land area planted but by the number of productive coffee trees therein.
Hence, Odsey is looking forward that with the consolidation, the coffee farmers would be strengthened as they work together to increase coffee production as well as meet the demands of the market. In the long run, the Association’s consolidation will cover not only the produce of their members but also the non-members in the community.
Under the start-up enterprise, the Association will primarily consolidate, process, and market quality Arabica coffee green beans that comply with the Philippine National Standards. The DA-PRDP projects an estimated average net income of P2.1 million in 10 years.
The association also provided P2.5 million, both in cash and in kind, as their counterpart to the subproject. This is equivalent to 20% of the total project cost. Moreover, P5.48 million will be used for civil works, while the remainder will be used for the procurement of machinery and supplies, working capital for the procurement of raw materials, grinding and packaging, and transport services.
Aside from government assistance provided by the DA to the coffee growers of Mountain Province, DA-CAR, together with other regional line agencies, has organized a regional coffee quality competition where coffee produced in CAR is tested by trained taste testers to determine the best coffee produced.
“The regional coffee quality competition is done prior to the conduct of the national coffee competition wherein the best-produced coffee in CAR, like Arabica, which is considered as one of the best coffee varieties, will compete this year. In this way, we also showcase to the people the good coffee being planted in CAR,” Odsey added. By JTLlanes and JBAgrifino