Issue of November 10, 2019
     
NEWS
Apayao
Benguet
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
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Coffee from Itogon issued sustained farming logo
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The coffee grown by farmers of Itogon, Benguet who were displaced by Typhoon Ompong in 2018 was issued the “Mountain Partnership Product” logo – a voluntary labeling scheme for high value mountain products from developing countries.

The coffee that carries the brand “Itogon Honey Bee” is the first product from the Cordillera that was able to obtain the seal.

It is produced by the Saddle Hartwell Lumbag Coffee Growers Association (Shalcoga), a group comprised of over 50 farmers, mostly women. 

Department of Tourism-Cordillera OIC Director Jovita Ganongan said the labeling of products produced by communities at tourist destinations is one of the thrusts in sustainable tourism – that biodiversity in host communities is preserved despite the influx of tourists.

Ganongan said the labeling scheme is also part of the agency’s thrust of giving a holistic tourism experience. “It is not just about the sites but the people and the culture,” she said.

Products that bear the Mountain Partnership Product logo means that the product was produced through sustainable means and the farmers were fairly compensated for the produce.

Ganongan said as part of Henry & Sons’ corporate social responsibility, it prepared the groundwork so that Shalcoga will be able to obtain the Mountain Partnership Product logo.

The product, coffee packaged beautifully in a canister was recently exhibited in a food exposition in Metro Manila. Each can contains the product’s nutritional information, storage requirements, and a description of how the coffee beans were sourced.

The can also has a QR code that when scanned shows how monies earned from the sale is divided, including the percentage that goes to the farmer and the fund set aside for their training for other endeavors that Shalcoga intends to pursue such as beekeeping.

Ganongan said that DOT is also planning to assist a group of farmers in Pasil, Kalinga to apply for the mountain seal for heirloom rice varieties like the Chong-ak, Ulikan, and Chaykot.


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