MALUNGON, Sarangani (PIA) -- A neophyte coffee brand from Sarangani turned out top rated in a recent regional coffee quality evaluation activity.
In a post, the Department of Trade and Industry Sarangani Province confirmed that Inag Coffee, a product from Malungon, Sarangani bested 22 coffee samples from Soccsksargen Region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that participated in the SKCOFFEE Project Localized Cupping and Grading Competition in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on January 24 to 28.
The 5-day coffee quality evaluation activity, which was made possible through the help of ACDI/VOCA technical coordinator Emeline Sabado and a number of Q-graders and roasters in Region 12, aims to help assess and improve the quality of coffee produced by participating farmers.
Inag Coffee is owned by humanitarian aid volunteer and Sarangani Coffee Council president Renny Boy Takyawan and his wife Baby Lyne. The business started only in 2019 out of a nearly 1.5 hectare coffee farm entrusted to them by his wife's parents.
"Inag" is a Tagakaulo term, meaning "light."
"I don't know how it happened," Takyawan said, referring to the information that Inag Coffee received the highest score in the said competition. "Our intention for sending samples to the competition was only for our coffee to be validated and to gather suggestions from baristas on how we could improve our process,"
Nevertheless, he said further, it has become an inspiration to them being new in the business and a proof that there is a potential for coffee industry in Malungon and Sarangani.
Takyawan added that the achievement, the first in Sarangani Province, is a boost to their goal of "inspiring other coffee farmers not only in Malungon, but also in the entire Sarangani Province.
As an enterprise, Inag Coffee sources Robusta beans from local farmer organizations and individual coffee growers, mostly members of the Tagakaulo tribe, who in accordance with the business's bias to produce premium coffee brand are now being trained on certain standards such as harvesting only red cherries, using drinkable water in flotation, among other beneficial practices that would ensure quality coffee beans. These practices, he emphasized, would also redound to better prices for the produce and greater income for the farmers and their families.
Having garnered the nod from the regional evaluators qualifies Inag Coffee to participate in the upcoming Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC), a yearly national green coffee competition that seeks to increase consciousness of Filipino farmers on coffee quality and encourages them to improve their competitiveness in the domestic and international markets.
Inag Coffee is supported by the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project of the Department of Trade and Industry.
A DTI briefer on this initiative states that RAPID Growth Project aims "to propel agriculture-based processing enterprises and entrepreneurial communities to become innovative, productive, and competitive so that they will be capacitated in meeting the challenges of the global market.
"Specifically, the project aims to provide focused, firm-level, value chain-based, and climate-smart assistance and financing program to micro and small business through enabling sectoral and trade policies which are designed to provide enhances access to institutional, regional, and world markets." (DED/PIA XII)