US agri unit remains committed in assisting coffee production in Mindanao

October 5, 2016 10:53 am 

By Digna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, Oct. 4 (PNA) — The Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers on Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) of the United States Department of Agriculture remains committed in assisting coffee production in Mindanao being one of the top of the three high-value crops that are covered under the Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade (MinPACT). The other two products are cacao and coconut.

According to Thelonious Trimmell, ACDI/VOCA Chief of Party, they have been assisting the MinPACT project in terms of training farmers, producers, value chain actors since 2015. The project will run until 2018 with funding of USD 9 million.

He said part of the funding or some USD 2 million was awarded as grants to beneficiaries. He said part of that or USD 1.2 million was already awarded while USD 800,000 was added to support post-harvest equipment.

He said their beneficiaries were mostly the people engaged in coffee production, post-harvest processors, and those in the processing of coffee.

In coffee production, Trimmel said, "we want them to level up in producing specialty coffee" in order to fetch better price especially if they produce good quality coffee beans.

That is why, he said, “We train people on coffee cupping in this way they could determine the quality through the taste of the coffee and the aroma.”

As usual practice, Filipino coffee producers determine the kind and the grade of coffee through visual. Cupping is the most appropriate scheme, he said.

He said training is ongoing for a group of individuals coming from coffee producers, roasters, coffee processors, coffee shops owners in preparation for an examination that they will take for them to become a certified coffee grader.

Normally, he said the exam is conducted in Manila but "we are arranging that the exam will also be done here in Davao".

The undertaking is in partnership with the Coffee Academy of Asia, Coffee Quality Institute, and the Philippine Coffee Board.

Meanwhile, Trimmell said that coffee producers assisted by MinPACT showed an improvement in their production while others found their market abroad. He said MinPACT aims to assist 10,600 smallholders of cacao, coconut and coffee farm families in Southern and Western Mindanao. (PNA)

LCM/DIGNA D. BANZON/LDP

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