The Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Safe Water conducted a series of Coffee Training Production to coffee mentors both in the eastern and western Sarangani watershed areas.
The training was held in Barangay Lower Mainit, Malungon on October 18 to 19 and in Barangay Upo, Maitum on October 20 to 21.
It aimed to train coffee farmers on good agricultural practices to produce better yield and quality coffee beans that can help increase their income. This was also intended to improve the water resources in watershed areas while encouraging participants to become coffee mentors in their respective communities.
ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Project Regional Coordinator Allan Datu-Imam was the resource speaker for the said training. It was a Training for Trainers (ToT) that covered 4 modules on coffee production such as Coffee Farm Establishment, Care and Maintenance, Integrated Pest and Disease Management, as well as Pruning and Rejuvenation. The Module 5 and 6 will be held on November 10-11 in the said areas.
“The intervention of USAID Safe Water for sustainable livelihood is for the purpose of involving the community in terms of watershed management. It needs to have community participation to ensure that the water resources would be sufficient for the needs of the population to safely manage water and sanitation services,” USAID Safe Water Chief of Party Alma Porciuncula said.
Porciuncula cited the collateral advantage of their intervention that includes the “increase of farmers’ income and improvement of their quality of life” providing "greater opportunities” for the coffee farmers in Sarangani.
The USAID Safe Water team, headed by Porciuncula and Paul Jeffrey, the Director for Asia of DAI Global, LLC, visited the municipality of Malungon, on Wednesday (October 19), to meet personally the coffee farmers and see the demo coffee farm of Inag Coffee Farmers Association, Inc. in Barangay Lower Mainit. The visitation was part of their watershed management activities in Sarangani Province.
“We believe by planting coffee trees in the upstream of the watershed (areas), it has better protection for the watershed than by planting annual cash crops. This not only provides income for the farmers but also improves ground water recharge so that ultimately everyone will benefit from having more water both in the community upstream and downstream,” Jeffrey said.
They also visited the model for Bamboo Dike Technology in Sitio Campo, which is a nature-based approach on riverbank erosion. The project is espoused by USAID Safe Water in collaboration with Kasilak Development Foundation, Inc. of LGU Malungon through its MENRO, PLGU Sarangani, BLGU of Lower Mainit and BISKAGO.
Th group also had a courtesy meeting with Malungon Mayor Atty. Maria Theresa "Tessa" Constantino, who assured the team of Malungon support for any agricultural initiatives and projects including their intervention for the coffee farmers in the municipality.
DAI Global, LLC is the implementing partner of USAID for the Safe Water project in the Philippines.
Sarangani is the first province in the Philippines to implement the Safe Water project. The USAID signed a five-year, P869 million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani to address water security challenges faced by communities in these provinces.
USAID provides technical assistance to help these provinces gain reliable access to clean water. The project started in 2020 and will end in 2024.
“We are very happy with our experience working in Sarangani. All stakeholders are very cooperative and supportive. I think everyone is realizing that this is not only the responsibility of the provincial government or the coffee farmers. But it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our environment including our forests and its water resources,” Porciuncula said, adding that “they will continue to nurture what they have started in Sarangani.”
In its 4th year, USAID Safe Water has been assisting Sarangani in terms of increasing access to resilient water and sanitation services, improving water resource management to ensure sustainable supply, and strengthening water sector governance.
The Safe Water project also facilitated the formulation of the Provincial Integrated Water Security Plan in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Sarangani. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Sarangani Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.)