Tinapong Shia Onjon, a microenterprise café operated and managed by the Baguio City Farmers Agriculture Cooperative (BCFAC) in partnership with Onjon Ni Ibaloi, Inc., is now open to serve locally grown Arabica coffee.
The coffee stall formally opened Sept. 18 at Onjon Ni Ibaloi Heritage Garden in Burnham Park.
City Veterinary and Agriculture Office Senior Agriculturist Marcelina Tabelin said Tinapong Shia Onjon is one of the microenterprises developed through the Coffee Processing Shared Service Facilities (SSF) project funded by the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with the City Government of Baguio in 2021.
The DTI-SSF Project is a private-public partnership that provides micro small and medium enterprises with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system.
She considers the opening of the café as a milestone unlocked for the BCFAC, the umbrella cooperative catering to at least 15 farmer groups and associations in the city with over 450 memberships to date.
“The outcomes of the business plan/proposal prepared and presented to DTI three years ago are starting to be realized. These outcomes include microenterprise development and employment generation,” Tabelin said.
She said CVAO, being the lead coordinator for the urban agribusiness ventures may not be implementing big ticket projects with multi-million budgets but through community organizing and development, client-beneficiaries will hopefully realize a sustainable and impactful economic transformation.
“We may undergo a tedious process and a longer duration but its fruit is rewarding. The impact of the project is being felt by the poorest members of the sector, which I think is more fulfilling than a multi-million project benefitting only few rich and influential people,” Tabelin added.
Onjon Ni Ibaloi president Rod Paus expressed his support and presented the partnership engagement with the BCFAC through planting of coffee trees to ensure the availability of raw materials for the cafe.
Councilor Arthur Allad-iw encouraged the members of the cooperative to focus on the production and processing of Arabica coffee as it has distinct advantage over other coffee varieties grown in other coffee- producing parts of the country.
He also reiterated the importance of cooperatives in livelihood development.
At present, there are 15 farmer associations in the city being assisted by CVAO through programs, trainings and services. These are BCFAC; Pinget Rural Improvement Club; Granjeros De Oeste Organizacion, Inc.; Irisan Rabbit Farmers’ Cooperative; Lucnab 4H Club/Young Farmers Association; Barangay Happy Hallow Farmers Organization; Ditep Farmers Association; Asin Road Binnadang Smith Association; Barangay Lucnab Agriculture and Fisheries Association; Loakan Apugan Livelihood Association; Bekes Ta-ang Farmers Association; San Andreas Strawberry Growers Association; Bilis Sto. Tomas Central Farmers Livelihood Association; Maria Basa Urban Gardeners Association; and, Bae-ngan Planters Association.
These farmer cooperatives and associations are located in barangays Irisan, Happy Hallow, Lucnab, Sto. Tomas Central, Pinget, Loakan Liwanang, Loakan Apugan, Camp 7, Pacdal, Bakakeng Central.
Tabelin is hopeful for more agribusiness ventures for urban farmers in the city as they continue to work in partnership with other government agencies for possible project linkages, particularly with the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Training Institute, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the DTI.
“It may have taken us a long time due to the coronavirus pandemic although community organizing and development really takes time because we are more focused on the process not the end result. Because we wanted transformation among the farmer-members to make their enterprise sustainable,” Tabelin said. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan