ALABEL, Sarangani -- Two coffee farmers from Malungon and one from Malapatan were announced as top 3 winners in the recently concluded 1st ‘Kape Sarangani: Coffee Quality Competition held on November 23 to 25, 2022. This was part of the celebration of the 20th MunaTo Festival and 30th Foundation Anniversary of Sarangani Province, which ran from November 25-28, 2022.
Ramil Libana of Upper Lumabat, Malungon, was declared as Top 1 in Fine Robusta Coffee with a cupping score of 83.58, taking away a cash prize of P20,000; Jaime Aban of Lower Mainit, Malungon, got the second spot with a cupping score of 83.33 and a P15,000 cash prize; and Arkohami Alab of Poblacion, Malapatan, came in third place with a cupping score of 80.66 and a cash of P10,000.
The announcement of winners was held on November 27, during the Kape Sarangani’s 'Forum on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)' which was participated by the province’s coffee farmers and stakeholders held at Cooperative & SMEs building, capitol ground, Alabel.
“This is the first in Sarangani and we’re glad that all coffee stakeholders supported this initiative,” Sarangani Coffee Council Chairperson Renny Boy Takyawan said.
The event aimed to encourage coffee farmers to apply good agricultural practices in their respective farms, and ensuring that only quality coffee is produced in the province.
Takyawan said the event was also a way of preparing them for the regional and national coffee quality competition.
During the competition, coffee farmers from the seven municipalities submitted their Green Coffee Beans (GCB). It was classified as fine, premium or commercial/off-grade Robusta coffee beans.
The GCB evaluation is based on the Coffee Quality Institute/Ugandan Coffee Development Authority (CQI/UCDA) fine Robusta grading classification system.
According to this classification system, fine Robusta has no category 1 defects and at most 5 secondary defects. The premium has 12 combined category 1 and secondary defects while the commercial/off-grade has more than 12 combined defects.
Certified Q Robusta Graders Arnel Cadeliña, Ava Marie Odal and Paquito Nalugon Jr., conducted the Green Grading, Roasting and Cupping of GCBs.
“The event seeks to increase the consciousness of Sarangani farmers on coffee quality and encourages them to improve their competitiveness in the domestic and international markets, which can improve their lives,” said head judge and Q Robusta Grader Arnel Cadeliña.
“In just a short period of time since they underwent series of coffee training, Sarangani took a big leap in producing quality Robusta coffee,” he added.
Meanwhile, the discussions during the Kape Sarangani’s 'Forum on Good Agricultural Practices' navigated toward the importance of adopting and sustaining such practices to yield the best coffee output to boost farmers’ income.
ACDI/VOCA-PhilCAFE Training and Logistics Officer Maria Jeaia Alexia Barredo was the resource speaker of the said coffee forum.
USAID Safe Water team, headed by Deputy Chief of Party Charito Redoblado, also attended the event to show the team’s support for the Sarangani coffee farmers.
During the forum, Redoblado shared USAID Safe Water’s interventions in Sarangani and how it helped uplift the lives of the coffee farmers and protect the watershed areas of the province.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Ryan Jay Ramos who represented Gov. Rogelio "Ruel" Pacquiao assured the farmers that the provincial government, through Pacquiao’s leadership, supports them and the entire coffee industry.
Atty. Ramos said that “coffee is among the trees to plant in watershed areas” being one of the thrusts of the provincial government for the Provincial Integrated Water Security Plan and among the governor’s strategy “to address poverty issues particularly in upland areas.”
“We know that the propagation of coffee is not only a source of livelihood. It is also vital in our efforts to address poverty in the province. Sarangani levels up in terms of coffee. We really want to improve the quality of coffee in Sarangani and we are thankful of the efforts of all stakeholders,” Atty. Ramos said.
He also encouraged the coffee farmers to accredit their farmers’ associations or people’s organizations with the province and their respective municipalities. Ramos explained that by doing this, it would be easier for the provincial/municipal government and other government agencies to download funds and provide technical assistance to them.
During the forum, Jerwin Balbino, high value crop coordinator from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist also presented the highlights of the 5-year Sarangani Coffee Industry Roadmap.
“The coffee roadmap is a comprehensive plan to set the direction of the coffee industry in Sarangani and GenSan. It also serves as a prerequisite to avail funds or interventions from different government agencies and NGOs,” Balbino said.
‘Kape Sarangani’ also had a coffee bar as part of the Fabli Gu Ni 2022 Trade Fair of DTI Sarangani that showcased the coffee of the province’s seven municipalities.
Sarangani is now gaining recognition for its Robusta coffee, championing the advocacy espoused by coffee farmers.
This year, Takyawan’s Inag Robusta Coffee has topped the regional coffee quality evaluation dubbed as SKCOFFEE Project Localized Cupping and Grading Evaluation in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat held on January 24 to 28, 2022.
Other coffee farmers in Sarangani, such as Datu Kubli Kusin from Maitum, recently gained popularity because of the highest cupping score it received from certified Q Robusta Graders during the 1st Kape Dose Festival held on September 29 to October 1, 2022, at Veranza Mall, GenSan.
SOCCSKSARGEN region is positioned to be the coffee capital of the Philippines being “now the number one coffee producer contributing about 32.4% of the total domestic coffee production.”
Region XII has more than 26,000 hectares of land dedicated to growing coffee, enough to supply the increasing demand of the entire country.
Kape Sarangani was organized by Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council in partnership with the Provincial Government of Sarangani, USAID Safewater, DTI Sarangani-RAPID Growth Project, Office the Provincial Agriculturist, ACDI/VOCA-PhilCafe, and GenSan Coffee Association. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council)