Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., PRDP- Luzon A Project Support Office Deputy Project Director Elma S. Mananes and DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey leads the ribbon cutting ceremony of the coffee center. The Mountain Province Arabica Coffee Enterprise Consolidation and Trading Center in Besao will help address the marketing problems of coffee farmers in the province. Photo by Erwin S. Batnag
Besao – The inauguration and turnover of the completed Mountain Province Arabian Coffee Enterprise (MPACE) Consolidation and Trading Center under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) – Investments in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP) component to eight proponent groups was held on February 12, 2020 in Kin-iway, Besao.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the center was led by DA-CAR OIC Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., Deputy Project Director Elma S. Mananes of PRDP-Project Support Office Luzon A and Mayor Johnson D. Bantog II. The blessing was initiated by Rev. Fr. Princel T. Balitog and was witnessed by the representatives from DA-CAR, PRDP Regional Coordinating Office and Project Support Office, proponent groups, officials and the community.
Under the project, four coffee satellite buying stations were built as a venue for farmers and neighboring municipalities to bring their coffee parchments. These buying stations are located in Poblacion, Tadian, Bagnen Oriente and Bila in Bauko and Poblacion, Sagada. Meanwhile, the building which is the consolidation and trading center for the MPACE will be the main center and will be managed by Besao Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the lead proponent group.
The MPACE is the first sub-project under I-REAP to be implemented in Mountain Province with a total project cost of 14.3 million pesos. It was jointly funded by the World Bank, the National Government through the DA, the PLGU of Mountain Province and the proponent groups.
In his message, Odsey urged the proponent groups or cooperatives to also encourage their members to plant coffee as they would be earning more income because they now have the facilities to use.
“Presently, there is short supply of arabica coffee; thus the need for increased production,” he said.
Also, Odsey said that the coffee enterprise will improve the profit of coffee growers and boost the coffee industry in Mountain Province.
Mary Jane S. Tumapang, provincial government assistant department head of the Provincial Agriculture Office related that the establishment of a unified consolidation and trading enterprise for coffee Arabica was proposed as a start-up enterprise which was conceptualized to increase the production and sales volume of Arabica coffee beans in the local market to address the marketing problems of coffee farmers.
She said that the collaboration and partnership of seven registered cooperatives and one registered rural based organization who were named as the Proponent Groups namely: Besao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (lead proponent), Tadian Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Dangdang-ay di Bila Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Bagnen-BalintauganTimpuyog Credit Cooperative, Sagada Community Consumers Cooperative, Saint Barnabas Credit Cooperative and Maggon Rural Improvement Club gave birth to the enterprise which is expected to provide leverage in the buying price of quality Arabica coffee parchment or green beans in Mountain Province. She added that the DA in partnership with the provincial government has earlier provided all the proponent groups with coffee facilities like pulpers, floatation drums, solar dryers, moisture meters, weighing scales and sacks.
Meanwhile, Director Odsey acknowledged the all-out support of the provincial officials by appropriating the provincial counterpart which is a necessary requirement in the implementation of the project.
In response, Governor Lacwasan expressed optimism that the farmers will maximize the benefits that can be addressed by the enterprise to uplift their living conditions.
“It is expected that this enterprise will encourage our farmers to plant more coffee trees and to produce quality green beans that will demand a good or higher price thereby increasing our farmers’ income,” Governor Lacwasan said in his message.
According to the governor, the enterprise will surely provide a unified consolidation and trading of Arabica coffee as each proponent group will consolidate the production of all their farmer members in terms of coffee parchment and bring it to the main center for processing into green beans before it will be traded out to the target buyers.
The governor also thanked the DA-PRDP for the on-going road projects under the I-Build component to reach out far flung areas for them to be accessible throughout the year.
“This will also reduce transport cost and encourage more farmers to engage in coffee and in other priority or high value commodities,” Lacwasan said.
In addition to the Governor’s challenge to the farmers, Mayor Bantog, Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli and Deputy Project Director Mananes were one in urging the proponent groups to sustain and further develop the project. “With the economic dream of evolving the coffee industry in Mountain Province realized, we hope for its sustainability,” they urged.