5 Mindanawon coffee growers to represent PH in Seattle expo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 April) – Five Robusta and Arabica coffee growers from Mindanao will represent the Philippines in the three-day Specialty Coffee Expo 2018 on April 19 to 22 in Seattle, Washington in the US.

Coffee farmers in Barangay Kaato-an, Lantapan, Bukidnon. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

Thelonious Trimmell, chief of party for the Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade, said in an interview on Tuesday that the Philippines will get a booth for the first time during the three-day expo.

The event will allow the country to showcase its specialty coffee and build a network with potential international high-value buyers.

The Arabica growers are Davao del Sur’s Marivic Dubria, manager of the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Farmers Association (BACOFA); Rio Besto, chair of Miarayon-Lapok-Lirongan-Tinaytayan Tribal Association in Bukidnon; and Corazon Meredes Lauderes, manager of Imdalsa Coffee, also from Bukidnon.

The Robusta coffee growers are South Cotabato’s Fred Fredeluces, owner of Green Tropics, and Bukidnon’s Leonila Secadron, manager of Bayanihan Millennium and producer of Kape Napalit.

They are previous winners of the annual Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC), Trimmell said.

“They’ve already been assessed, graded and now we get to share them with the other international buyers to potentially attract them to come to the Philippines,” he said.

The Agricultural Cooperative Development International-Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI-VOCA) will sponsor the US trip of the farmers.

ACDI-VOCA is implementing the four-year US Department of Agriculture-funded Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade project, designed “to increase the income of the 10,600 smallholder cacao, coconut, and coffee farm families in Southern and Western Mindanao.”

Trimmel said joining the three-day international expo introduces farmers to potential high-value buyers and creates a buyer-farmer relationship to benefit the coffee industry in the Philippines.

Several buyers joining the expo are willing to purchase specialty coffee from the Philippines at high premium prices, he added.

He, however, said the supply side remains a challenge as the Philippines is still importing 85 to 90 percent of its coffee. He said even local demand for higher value specialty coffee is growing.

Six coffee entries from Mindanao under Arabica category and another six under Robusta category won in the PCQC 2018, as announced during the Philippine Coffee Conference in Baguio City on March 20 to 21, 2018.

Under Arabica category, two coffee entries from BACOFA, grown on the foothills of Mt. Apo in Bansalan, Davao del Sur won 2nd and 6th places in that competition.

Other winners were Zaida Besto (4th place), Eric Yap (11th place), and Kalugmanan Agri Devt Corp. (12th place) from Bukidnon and Rogelo Giangan (10th place) of North Cotabato.

The six winning entries for Robusta category from Mindanao included Lorna Libante (2nd place), BMMPC Farmers (4th place), Florentino Hermoso (7th place), and Imelda Paulican Mendoza from Bukidnon (8th place); Delio Cesar from Maragusan in Compostela Valley (5th place), Lake Sebu Coconut Farmers Association of South Cotabato (9th place), and Rebecca Gacayan  of Poblacion Sultan Kudarat (11th place).

The competition aims to have Philippine specialty coffee recognized worldwide by performing evaluations signed with globally accepted grading and profiling protocols and standards of the Coffee Quality Institute. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)