The attainment of the goals set in the country’s coffee roadmap is determined by public and private convergence thus, programs such as the 2nd Philippine Coffee Conference firms up stakeholder’s initiatives in promoting coffee as a national industry. This was the gist of Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zenaida Cuison-Maglaya’s keynote address during the November 23-25, 2016 event in Baguio City adding that government will provide technical support while the private sector will lead the way in what she refers to as “angat lahat” for shared responsibility while attaining inclusive growth.
In that conference, Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Lorenzo Caranguian who represents his secretary adds to Maglaya’s statement saying that the roadmap goal is also dependent on the right seed, right place, right price and right market. As host co-organizer, DTI -CAR Regional Director Myrna P. Pablo who welcomed the participants from the different regions said that coffee as a commodity for friendship, unity and peace can be worked together as stakeholders moving as one with the government. With the theme “Nurturing the Coffee Industry Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Growth”, the jam packed two-day conference engaged the 800 participants to a series of forums and interactions complete with a barista aided Coffee Pavilion that showcased various coffee products of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
In presenting the Philippine Coffee Roadmap for 2016-2022, Dave Santos, Commercial Crops, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries Chairman said that there must be a comprehensive industrial strategy to enable agri-business, manufacturing and service firms to upgrade, thrive, and become catalysts and engines for sustained and inclusive growth. He implied that RP must also align its goals to the World Coffee Vision 2020 with its theme “Collective Impact for Sustainable Coffee Communities” and capacitate producers to take advantage of the many opportunities of the industry. We need to promote the success of domestic firms in both the local and international markets that will lead to economic transformation by creating the proper environment and strengthening industries Santos added.
Lara Navarro, OIC Chief of the Standards Division of DA Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards presented the National Coffee Standards saying that the Green Agricultural Practices approach addresses environmental, economic and social sustainability dimensions for on-farm production and postproduction processes. The GAP farming practice results to safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products Navarro pointed out.
On post harvest handling and quality control, Dr. Manuel Diaz, Consultant of Coffee Quality Institute presented “The Science of Fine Robusta” saying that Robusta will become the major source of coffee consumption globally. A known cupper and grader, Diaz claimed that Robusta is easier to tend to in farm, has a higher yield and is also less sensitive to insects.
Learning More About Coffee
Marketing Specialty Coffee in the Philippines was tackled by JC Martinez, a certified apprentice roaster of Just Cup Academy based in Seoul, Korea. Martinez said that marketing specialty coffee in a place where nobody knows what specialty coffee is worth all the effort. “You have to make customers understand the value of better coffee and encourage people to buy better coffee with a higher price” he added.
Dr. Phan Viet Ha, the Head of Science Plan Department, Western Highlands Agriculture & Forestry Science of Vietnam was also invited by DTI to discuss Vietnam’s Programs and Strategies on Coffee Production, Productivity and Processing. Dr. Ha said that they undertake what he calls Research-oriented on sustainable coffee production and coffee breeding which is a complete form of Integrated Crop Management. The ICM according to Ha is a protocol applied for coffee in different regions in Vietnam and his office pushes the application of such protocols. One of Vietnam’s good practices Ha added is the use of mechanization and hi-tech applications in coffee production.
Another guest speaker Thelonious Trimmell an expert in agribusiness development who currently serves as chief of party for the Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade shared the practices Mindanao on Coffee Quality and Productivity. He said that the key to improve the coffee sector in the country is quality and higher productivity and to achieve this, locals should invest in coffee communities, strengthen the role of coffee industry organizations especially the indigenous people.
Coffee In A Global Scale
On coffee’s global value chain, Jorge Judan of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. implied that there is no relevance if one does not know what to look for in the market because the deficit between coffee production and coffee consumption is now being addressed and balanced with stakeholders in the supply chain.
Sharing his experiences in the global coffee trading, Anton Goontilleke affirmed that Arabica coffee as a specialty coffee with great potentials in the market is one of the exotic coffee around the world that can dictate a high price if produced with quality.
A cupping and grading session led by experts Manuel Diaz, Cherry Cruz, Jennifer Rimando, and Susan Pablo made the conference even more exciting as growers who earlier submitted their green beans awaits the result with crossed fingers.
During the 2nd day of the conference, a plenary and break out session was facilitated with topics on financing and investment forum with speakers from various financial institutions. Other sessions tackled business models on Coffee Production, Coffee Marketing, Business Matching, Networking and Consultations. Felicitas Pantoja acknowledged the reality of lack of sustained peace among tribes, migrants, and various armed groups in Southern Philippines and as a civic minded citizen, she established the Coffee for Peace, Inc. in Davao as a social enterprise that promotes a culture of peace through coffee.
Sly Samonte, the top barista of the 3rd Philippine National Barista Championship and world’s top 14 barista gave an interesting insight on the competitive world of specialty coffee noting that they do not only specialize in the aroma, flavor and taste of coffee but they must also know the origin and what stories can be told about each coffee they serve.
At the conclusion of the 2nd Philippine Coffee Congress and during the half day tour and site visit at the Coffee Demo Farm, Benguet State University in La Trinidad, a farmer participant was heard saying that he learned a lot including that fact that coffee can grow under pine trees.
Robert Domoguen of DA-CAR who partnered with DTI during the preparatory stages of the conference quoted “long after the conduct of the 2nd Philippine Coffee Congress, the warmth of the event and some of its essence will be retained in the minds of the participants, the organizers and even the general public as well and one way we can be sure about this is through the photography and painting contest.” Perhaps too are the cultural performances by Baguio students who ushered speakers Ha and Trimmell flex and stride to the tune of resounding Cordillera gongs. –Art Tibaldo