Pedro Dapar, 56 years old, is a living testament to persistence, hard work, and the power of hope.
Today, he is considered the "champion coffee grower" in his tribe the Catal Lumad Development Association (CALUDA) in Sitio Catal, Barangay La Roxas, Maramag Bukidnon.
Born and raised in Bohol he traveled to Kalilangan, Bukidnon to tend the coffee farm of his uncle. It was during the late 80s when he settled in La Roxas and found his niche in planting and growing coffee.
Just like any smallholder farmer, he faced numerous obstacles. First is financial - the struggle in accessing local markets at fair prices for his coffee. Second, the traders control the prices- he rarely has any power to negotiate terms because the traditional practice is if during planting stage he needs financial assistance to buy fertilizers and payment for his hired help for the land preparation, he runs to the traders and in exchange, he sells his coffee for a much lower price.
"As I observed, most of the farmers are hopeless. If they want to increase their production and earn more, they need to be serious in farming. We have a lot of technologies out there, why not apply it together with the traditional methods." Mr. Dapar says. He said that farmers do not earn more because they usually have low self-esteem and are easily discouraged.
"You have to think outside the box and challenge yourself. If not, your coffee will only grow as much as you think.”
He is thankful to Philippine Coffee Alliance, Inc. (PCAi) and Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP) for the introduction of the project entitled "Empowering the Coffee Value Chains of Forest Communities via Community Based Social Enterprises" because twenty-two (22) members of CALUDA are now cooperators of the said project and soon will be freed from trader-dependency.
His dream for his community is to have his own Post Harvest Facilities such as Coffee Depulper and Dehuller so as to lower the cost of his coffee production and they can demand a higher price for their quality beans.
“We pay attention to what we are doing and remembering the reason why we are out here farming. Not too many people have the opportunity to do what we do. While it’s a challenge to be successful, it’s a fulfilling challenge.”