Davao cooperative opens café promoting Mt. Apo coffee

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Jan) – A local cooperative hopes to help coffee farmers here as it opened on Wednesday “The Library Café by Co-op Cups,” a coffee shop bannering specialty beans grown on the foothills of Mount Apo.

Agripino Torres, chief executive officer of the Manuel Guaianga and Sirib Growers and Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAGSIGE-MPC), during the opening of The Library Café by Co-op Cups on Wednesday (18 January 2023). MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

Agripino Torres, chief executive officer of the Manuel Guaianga and Sirib Growers and Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAGSIGE-MPC), said in an interview that the opening of this coffee shop in the city would widen the local market for specialty coffee produced by growers in the region.

“There is a market prepared for them. They can have a better price as long as they can produce quality coffee,” he said.

The cooperative-run coffee shop, which can accommodate 40 people, is located on the first floor of the four-story Davao City Library and Information Center along C. Bangoy Street in Poblacion District.

“Co-op Cups aims to showcase the communities and individuals that would greatly benefit from the cooperative-run coffeeshop – such as men and women cooperative members who will be trained and employed in the coffee shop, as well as the indigenous coffee growers/farmers situated in Marilog District and near communities who will primarily supply the coffee beans,” Torres said.

He said the establishment initially serves coffee from the award-winning Arabica coffee producer, Balutakay Coffee Farmers’ Association (BACOFA), of Bansalan in Davao del Sur, but they are also sourcing beans from other regions of Mindanao.

Torres added that MAGSIGE-MPC has 46 member-farmers, most of them indigenous people from Marilog District, who have started planting coffee beans with a total area of 80 hectares at 1,000 meters above sea level.

He hopes that the cooperative will start producing beans from their own coffee farmers by the end of this year.

“We are planting coffee, and we would like to have a value chain for coffee. That’s why we opted to put up a coffee shop. It’s such a big thing to have opened a coffee shop because we can now give a good price for the farmers. It’s good that we can supply. The farmers’ produce will be processed by the Coffee Cups,” he said.

“We intend to use the harvests from our partner coffee farmers in Marilog District to supply the bulk of the coffee beans needed for the coffee shop. Our members will also undergo training to handle the daily operations of the coffee shop,” he said.

Torres said he also envisions opening more coffee shop branches in the future.

In a briefer, the “Co-op Cups” is a series of coffeeshops jointly operated by a consortium of MAGSIGE-MPC and the Model Cooperative Network.

Aside from coffee, the social enterprise also hopes to sell other local products of the cooperatives.

Torres said the café, envisioned “as a cozy place that will offer a glimpse of the history, culture, and the recent developments of Davao City,” will feature the local flavors of Davao “to offer a taste of the region to library-goers.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)