October 2, 2023

Proponent groups of coffee enterprise subprojects implemented under the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) in Kalinga and Mountain Province were trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for specialty coffee from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 and Dec. 6 to 10, respectively.

The training was conducted in partnership with the Coffee Collective of the Philippines, Inc. (CCP), also known as the Philippine Coffee Guild (PCG), and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA)- Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farmers Enterprise (PhilCAFE) Project to develop the knowledge and skills of proponent groups on proper coffee production management protocols to improve coffee quality and generate higher incomes.

The partnership between the PCG-CCP and ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Project intends to increase coffee production through capacity building activities that will improve productivity and yield higher income for coffee farmer beneficiaries.

Additionally, the GAP training intends to introduce and cascade the coffee mentorship strategy of the PhilCAFE to proponent groups, to achieve a wider reach of farmers in the use of appropriate practices; provide an experimental method of learning and adoption of farming practices and technology for coffee farmer beneficiaries and project implementers; and capacitate the farmers to qualify and enter local/international coffee competition to add more value for their coffee beans.

Participants are from lead and affiliate proponent groups of the Kalinga Integrated Coffee Processing and Marketing Enterprise and the Mountain Province Arabica Coffee Enterprise. The proponent groups of other PRDP supported coffee enterprises in Mountain Province also participated in the training.

As part of the training program, discussions and field practicums on the following modules were conducted: coffee establishment care and maintenance; plant nutrition/fertilization; integrated pest and disease management; pruning and rejuvenation; farm planning; proper coffee harvesting and characterization; coffee postharvest processing methods; and green bean grading and cupping.

Participants expressed their gratitude for the training conducted.

“Dakkel ti maitulong na daytoy nga GAP training karkaro ta agrugrugi kami pay lang ken tanoamu mi aramiden mi nga mang-improve ken mangaywan ti mula mi nga kape,” Aliwes Irrigators Association, Inc. president Luisa Salingbay said.

Aillehban Bendadan, an aspiring coffee processor and a member of the Sagada Coffee Growers Processing Organization, thanked the ACDI/VOCA, PCG, and the DA-PRDP for the training because they were able to learn good coffee practices hands-on.

“Ado ti naadal mi nga Good Agricultural Practices tano maimprove ti qualiy ti kape mi manipod panagmula, panagprocess, panagpili ti naluom nga kape, ken panag-cupping tano maamuan mi raman ken angot na,” Bendadan added.

The PCG also facilitated planting and postharvest processing methods, coffee cupping and sensory exercises for the participants to appreciate their coffee and expand their knowledge on the taste and quality of coffee from various areas in the country including their coffee.

PCG Chair Ronald Yu encouraged the participants to practice and share what they have learned from the training, urging them to participate in coffee quality competitions.

“Your coffee has a potential to grade higher but it entails added effort and passion,” Yu said.

In response, the participants expressed their eagerness to improve their coffee and their intent to join the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition soon.

ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Project Senior Field Technician Razul Dakiwas also encouraged the participants to share it what they learned to fellow coffee growers to improve the quality of their coffee and promote GAP for specialty coffee.

The GAP training series for specialty coffee will be continued next year, to cover the other PRDP-assisted coffee enterprise proponent groups not only in the Cordillera but in the whole country. – Elvy T. Estacio