“Kape! Kape! Kape! Yayaman ang bansa sa kape! (Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! The country will be rich with coffee!),” chanted the 56 organizations of smallholder farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and active civil society partners as they gathered for the 1st General Assembly of Philippine Coffee Alliance (PCA) from July 29-30, at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management in Quezon City.
The Philippine Coffee Alliance is a network-organization representing a mix of startup and existing coffee farmer groups people’s organizations, women’s groups and several civil society organizations, to advance proactive participation of the marginalized coffee farmers for an inclusive development, growth, and sustainability of the Philippine coffee industry.
To help the coffee farmers improve their way of living, PCA aims to be the platform for them to have a unified stand and voice, to be heard as a stakeholder in the industry . Poverty is a state farmers are in because they have always been left out. PCA intends to connect the small stakeholders (farmers & IPs) to gov't & industry.
PCA also acts as the consolidator and catalyst , by giving what the industry requires to sustain itself and provide empowering environment for the small stakeholders .
ICCO is a partner of some of the members like TriCom and PhilSEN. How was this partnership able to benefit the PCA?
PCA's partnership with Philsen & Tricom has broken barriers and opened up opportunities to establish ,build and nurture relationships founded on trust and shared vision.
PCA's future highly depends on the bond and alliance which the members themselves would have to keep and continuously work on , as we all aspire for inclusive growth and development for the coffee industry.
“Mas masarap mag-kape, kaysa ikaw ang pinag-kakapehan,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to warm up the learning session. His keynote speech stressed the capability of the local farmers to supply national consumption requirement; and his promise of government support called for sustained participation from coffee farmers towards the road to self-sufficiency. As a practitioner, the Secretary expressed support for programs that increase farmer’s income.
The session also opened the floor for consultations on the Philippine Coffee Road Map as presented by Director Jenny Remoquillo of High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) of the Department of Agriculture. Heard were small voices from coffee growing communities to have them included as target areas for planting new seedlings and other support services. A large part of the available land area for planting is collectively owned by indigenous peoples (IPs): Kankanaey of North Luzon, Mangyan of South Luzon, and Manobo of Mindanao, who also compose the alliance.
In addition to the Secretary’s promise to secure lower monthly interest rates at 1%-1.5% to address credit financing concerns and the direction for technical kits to be delivered to the IPs, the session ended with opening communication lines on the end of HVCDP for other relevant concerns and suggestions.
This convening event also initiated the formation of the PCA Council. In harmony, regional offices shall be lead by: [for Luzon cluster] Goad Sibayan of Mt. Province Association of Coffee Growers; Fred Rufino of Atok Arabica Coffee Growers Marketing Cooperative; Fr. Valentin Dimoc of Social Action and Development Center – Lagawe; Rodrigo Aquino of Talbak Coffee Farmers Association; Juanito Andal of Casile-Guinting Upland Marketing Cooperative; [for Visayas Cluster] Angel Vic Labrador of Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development Foundation, Inc.; Sr. Carmeli Marie Catan, OSA of La Consolacion College System; [for Mindanao cluster] Dr. Dante Eugenio of Senator Ninoy Aquino Coffee Industry Development Council; Jupiter Gayanilo of CFP Taytayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Imelda Mendoza of Rural Improvement Club of Maramag, Bukidnon; and Carlos Rivera of Sandayong Foundation, Inc.
Credits to SOUTHERN LUZON INQUIRER. Click HERE to view the original article.