The Municipality of Maitum, through its Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAg), hosted the first-ever “Kape Maitum: Appreciation to Specialty Arabica and Fine Robusta,”on May 5, 2023, at the JLC Hall, Municipal Building, Maitum, Sarangani Province.
The event aimed to promote specialty coffee while also recognizing the significant role of local coffee farmers in the industry.
It also aimed to recognize the unrelenting efforts of Maitum's coffee farmers, who have dedicated themselves to producing exceptional coffee that can compete globally.
This dedication paid off when Datu Kubli Kusin, the president of the Upo Valley Farmers Association (UVFA), placed fourth in the Fine Robusta Category during the highly-regarded Kape Dose Coffee Quality Competition 2023 held in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. This remarkable achievement effectively placed Maitum's coffee industry on the map of Region 12, demonstrating the farmers' valuable contribution to the region's coffee sector.
“This event showcases our coffee in the municipality. If we have bangsi (flying fish) in Maitum, we also have coffee. Let us patronize our products and support our farmers,” UVFA President Datu Kusin said during the event.
"The establishment of Kape Maitum has significantly boosted the morale of coffee farmers in the municipality, who have previously struggled to gain an advantage in the market due to limited knowledge of processing and marketing their crops. Most of these marginalized farmers come from Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities,” OMAg High-Value Crop Coordinator Elton Vincent Galima said.
“With Kape Maitum's efforts in promoting specialty coffee and highlighting the unique flavors of locally-grown beans, the farmers' perception of coffee production and enterprise is changing for the better. The initiative has provided the farmers with valuable opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills in coffee processing and marketing, thereby improving their livelihoods and uplifting their communities,” he added.
Apart from providing training, OMAg Maitum is actively seeking partnerships and collaborations with other agencies, such as USAID Safe Water, the DTI-RAPID project, and the Department of Agrarian Reform. The Department of Agriculture Region 12 has also prioritized coffee and has offered training, seminars, machinery and equipment support, credit, and insurance to further improve the coffee industry in the region.
Through the Kape Maitum event, the municipality is expected to gain recognition for its coffee production, marketing, and enterprise not only in the region but also on a national level.
Several distinguished guests were present at the event, including Maitum Councilor James Mark Reganit, DTI Sarangani Provincial Director Ethel Laksmi Gumana, DTI Sarangani Consumer Protection Division chief Ramon Dosejo Jr., OIC-Sarangani Provincial Agriculturist Engr. Agnes Du, Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council chairperson Renny Boy Takyawan, and members of GenSan Coffee Association. Also in attendance were coffee farmers and enthusiasts from Maitum who added to the excitement and vibrancy of the occasion.
“Coffee is one of the priority industries of DTI not just at the national level, but also at the regional and provincial level. One of our programs that focuses on coffee is the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development Growth or simply RAPID Growth Project,” PD Gumana said.
RAPID is a value chain-based and market-driven project that aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development for rural farming communities in target areas which include Sarangani Province in Region 12.
“Now in its third year, we are pleased to inform you that the RAPID program has helped the coffee industry in Maitum through a wide array of farmer-focused interventions like capability-building training, matching grants, market matching initiatives and the forging of Commercial Partnership Agreements (CPA) with anchor firms or institutional buyers,” she said.
PD Gumana said that the RAPID program currently assists four coffee associations in Maitum – Ticulab Greenfield Farmers Associations, Basug Tunggal Farmers Associations, Lampong Sustainable Farmers Association, and Upo Valley Farmers Association.
“Coffee is almost a forgotten commodity. But through the joint effort of government agencies and non-government organizations such as ACDI/VOCA and USAID Safe Water, our coffee farmers can produce quality coffee. We are optimistic about the brighter future for our coffee farmers,” OIC Du of OPAg said.
The Provincial Government of Sarangani has identified coffee as one of the top 5 priority commodities. The coffee industry plays a significant role in the local economy, providing livelihood opportunities for farmers and contributing to the province’s revenue.
The event featured a coffee cupping session where attendees can sample the different varieties of coffee produced in Sarangani and other regions in Mindanao. It also included a talk about “Coffee Appreciation to Specialty Arabica and Fine Robusta” led by Q Robusta Grader Arnel Cadeliña
Kape Maitum also showcased local entrepreneurs that are related to the coffee industry, namely UF Vanilla Farm, Britos café, Thirsty Tongue café, Malaya Brew, Diomrie Chocolate, and the coffee products produced by UVFA.
Kape Maitum was also a collaborative effort between UVFA, Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council, Gensan Coffee Association, and The Coffee Academy (TCA) GenSan.
The event was part of the celebration of the 22nd Binuyugan Festival and the 64th Foundation Anniversary of Maitum. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Sarangani Coffee Industry Development Council)