DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 October) – Mindanao’s world-class coffee beans will soon be available on Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer based in Seattle, Washington in the United States, Felicitas B. Pantoja, chief executive officer and founder of Coffee for Peace Inc.
Pantoja, the lone Asian awardee of the prestigious 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award, said in an email that Coffee for Peace was approved by the American multinational technology firm last Sept. 24 to put up its its products on the e-commerce website to widen the market reach of Mindanawon coffee growers.
“The benefit of digital selling is that they would be able to add to their existing form of marketing, by reaching would-be buyers online, which would mean wider exposure,” she added.
She said they would use Amazon to sell the green beans from Mindanao.
She said they are also helping coffee farmers transition to online selling to bridge the gap between sellers and buyers through other digital platforms, including Facebook, Google my Business, and Instagram, to cope with the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the thriving local coffee industry.
“The Coffee for Peace can help by marketing the farmers and their coffee by promoting it as the one they use for their shop and signature drink. Another one would be toll roasting for the farmers and helping them market it online. They can bring the green beans to our roastery for roasting, which would add value to their product,” she said.
She added that Coffee for Peace is currently working on the accreditation of its facilities with the Food and Drug Administration, which will become a gate pass for the Mindanao-grown coffee beans to enter other countries.
She said that Coffee for Peace’s page would be transformed into an online meeting platform to link growers and potential buyers, adding such move would assure buyers that the roasted coffee beans are of high quality.
She said farmers who may use the Coffee for Peace platform should have undergone the training and are members of Kapeyapaan Farmers Association (KFA).
Pantoja said she wanted her company to be a medium to close the gap between growers and buyers, as micro-small holder farmers would not have enough capital to have their facilities certified with Global Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.
“This also protects the buyers that what they are drinking is clean, safe and good quality coffee,” she said.
While their online platform is planned for launching next year, she said the company roasts on demand, catering to local orders anywhere in the country.
“Under the new normal operation, we have re-strategized and our company has decided to start a pilot program for our KFA. We will accept the first 20 farming families that we will train near our model farm in Purok Mahayahay in Bansalan, Region 11. We have started our initial meeting and have gathered our baseline data. This will be a new set of communities that we will add to the existing communities that we have trained and bought from since 2008,” she said.
She said that this will be the pilot move “for bringing each farmer to a point where they understand digital transformation and how it can work for them and Coffee for Peace.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)