In Surigao del Sur, many farmers have ventured in the coffee enterprise over the last few years. Despite their efforts, working to get a big shot in a competitive and promising industry is not an easy road to take, and is common to many other coffee farming communities in the country. With the increase in demand and coffee grading standards, there are many gaps that needed to be resolved as well as linkages that had to be established. But as for our Surigao del Sur farmers, the aim of improving the coffee production and marketing endeavors had just gotten a remarkable boost.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the Convergence on Value-Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) has selected the Barobo-Tagbina Agrarian Reform Community (BATA-ARC) Cluster in Surigao del Sur as one of its implementation areas. The project recognizes the potential of the coffee farming enterprise in the cluster and is focusing on Coffee Production, Rejuvenation, Processing & Marketing by conducting capability building activities, organizational management and facilitating agribusiness partnerships with potential investors. Because of the initiatives that were put into action, the ACDI/VOCA through its Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) Project partnered with DAR and Project ConVERGE for the development of the coffee project in Surigao del Sur.

About the Partnership

ACDI/VOCA is a global development design and delivery partner realizing economic and social development projects related to agriculture, finance, and the like. With its PHILCAFE project, they are aiming to optimize the sustained development of the country’s coffee industry by leveraging private and public capital to put the National Coffee Roadmap into action.

Through its tie-up with the Project ConVERGE, ACDI/VOCA can provide additional technical assistance and market linkages for the cluster. This could also help push through with the e Coffee Cluster in Surigao del Sur The ceremonial signing of MOU was affirmed by National Project Director Faisar A. Mambuay, CESO IV and Project Chief of Party ACDI/VOCA PhilCafe Mr. TJ Ryan.The ceremonial signing of MOU was affirmed by National Project Director Faisar A. Mambuay, CESO IV and Project Chief of Party ACDI/VOCA PhilCafe Mr. TJ Ryan. Also, the event was witnessed by Project Manager Gumercindo Tumabli, Special Asst. to the Usec. Faspo RD Felix Aguhob, DAR Caraga 13 Asst. Regional Director Daylinda Narisma, Surigao del Sur PARPO II Leoncio Baustista, RPMOCaraga 13 and PPMO Team of Surigao del Sur.institutionalization of localized coffee para-technicians in the province into certified Robusta Coffee Mentors by undergoing training workshops on Coffee Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), among the many other benefits that the BATA ARC Cluster could be able to again from this opportunity.

To formalize the said partnership, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was crafted between DAR, Project ConVERGE and the ACDI/VOCA signed last January 28, 2020 in Cebu City. It was affirmed by the Project ConVERGE National Project Director Faisar Mambuay and Mr. TJ Ryan, ACDI/VOCA PHILFACE Project Chief of Party. Witnesses to the said event were ConVERGE Project Manager Gumercindo Tumbali, Regional Director Felix Aguhob, DAR Caraga Assistant Regional Director Daylinda Narisma, and Project ConVERGE Surigao del Sur Provincial Project Director PARPO II Leoncio Bautista.

What to Expect

With the signing of the MOA, a total of 1,087 coffee farmers that are beneficiaries of Project ConVERGE will be directly involved and will receive support from the ACDI/VOCA PHILCAFE Project. Given the activities involved in the tie-up, the agri-extension support to the BATA Coffee Cluster farmers will be further developed and intensified.

On a greater scale, we can expect that this partnership can help Project ConVERGE and BATA ARC Cluster on their endeavors to improve the quality grade of coffee beans and increase the volume of coffee production in their locality. This could also heighten the chances of our beneficiary communities to compete with other existing coffee production businesses and could widen the reach of its market by attracting other potential investors.

According to Project ConVERGE 13 Regional Project Director and DAR Caraga Regional Director Leomides Villareal, this partnership just manifests how important it is to connect and collaborate with other organizations that can further boost the operationalization of the project. “It is empowering to witness how different entities have united because of a common goal which is to improve the lives of our farmers especially when they have so much potential for growth”.

NPD Faisar A. Mambuay is hopeful that this will bring a better chance for the coffee farmers to compete the international market by supplying and producing quality of coffee beans. He expressed his appreciation to the Project ConVERGE Team and ACDI/VOCA for exerting their best efforts for this initiative to be realized.

Attaining a successful coffee enterprise is truly a challenge for our farmers in Surigao del Sur. But with their hard work, added by the help and support of Project ConVERGE and ACDI/VOCA, a better future isnow brewing ahead of them. (By Myra Yu and Charlemagne Kierra Rubillos)