Bukidnon farmers can demand higher price for coffee production – coffee expert

A coffee farmer who visited the CMU Coffee Laboratory takes time to smell a demo cup of coffee during a familiarization workshop

Story and photo by Iyren A. Dalipe-Neri

MARAMAG, BUKIDNON (BukidnonNews.Net/06 January 2019) Coffee farmers in Bukidnon deserved to produce world class quality specialty coffee so they can demand a higher price, said an official of the coffee laboratory in Central Mindanao University, the first of its kind in Northern Mindanao.

Andrew B. Melencion, coffee laboratory in-charge and a faculty of CMUʾs Horticulture Department, said Bukidnon has great potential in producing specialty coffee because of its climate and soil characteristics suitable for coffee farming.
Melencion, with international licenses on Q grading for both Arabica and Robusta categories from the Coffee Quality Institute, said coffee producers must submit their coffee for cupping and grading so they can demand the appropriate price.

The CMU facility, set up in November 2017 in the hope of helping local farmers produce specialty coffee for the world market, serves as laboratory in coffee quality grading and in assuring quality of coffee production.  It also provides local coffee farmers access to the cupping and grading of specialty coffee.

The CMU coffee laboratory project is made possible in partnership with the Agricultural Cooperative Development International (ACDI-VOCA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional office and CMU.

Melencion urged coffee farmers from Bukidnon to avail of services, free of charge for now, in the facility and undergo the training to ensure quality coffee production in their respective farms.

He said they conduct the services through the equipment provided by ACDI-VOCA.  Aside from coffee grading, coffee farmers will be trained on coffee production, post-harvest handling and Q grading, which are essential in the production of best quality coffee, he added.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) cited in its website that coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded “specialty”.  Specialty coffees are grown in special and ideal climates and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and little to no defects. The unique flavors and tastes are a result of the special characteristics and composition of the soil in which they are produced.

Laurence Pradia, Trade-Industry Development Specialist of DTI, said that the coffee cupping laboratory and the Q grading process hold critical roles in the development of the coffee industry in the province and the country in general.

“While many target [on] producing higher volume,  we should not forget to take care of the coffee quality which will command higher prices of our coffee products–that is the coffee lab and Q grading come in,” he added.

For two consecutive years, Bukidnon coffee proved to be the best coffee for both Arabica and Robusta categories during the Philippine Coffee Cupping Competition.

In 2017, coffee from Inhandig Tribal Multi-purpose Cooperative garnered the highest score of 85.75 for Arabica and the Kape Maramag was awarded 83.42 points for Robusta.

In 2018, Caida Besto of Mirayon, Talakag Bukidnon landed on top 4 for Arabica category.  For Robusta category, Bukidnon bagged the top 2 and 4 places, for Lorna Libante of Bagong Silang,  Bukidnon and BMMPC Farmers of Pigtauranan, San Roque,  Pangantucan, Bukidnon respectively.

In September 2018, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Provincial Government of Bukidnon launched the 1st Bukidnon Coffee Festival, which showcased the re-birth of the coffee industry in the province.

The highlights of the event were the Coffee Cupping Quality Competition and Coffee Appreciation Seminar on Coffee Cupping and Green Grading, conducted by Melencion and participated by coffee farmers, local government unit officials  and visitors.

There were 18 entries from seven municipalities in the competition; namely,  Lantapan,  Libona,  Malaybalay, Manolo Fortich,  Pangantucan,  Sumilao and Quezon.  Only eight out of 13 entries for Arabica and two out of five entries for Robusta passed the cupping quality competition.

The top 1 and 2 winners for Arabica category were bagged by Mega Farm from Libona Bukidnon with a coffee grade of 83.88 and 83.19 respectively. Jacky’s Garden from Lantapan Bukidnon won third place with a grade of 82.69. For Robusta category the winners were both from Kape Napalit of Pangantucan, Bukidnon with a grade of 81.69 and 81.31 respectively.

According to DTI-Bukidnon, there are 16 coffee brands in the province including those producing Arabica,  Robusta and Excelsa. The brands are as follows: Agila Filipina and Jacques Coffee from Lantapan; Con Amor,  Noble Coffee,  Monk’s Blend and Kitanglad Brew from Malaybalay; Café Rico from Quezon; Seven Tribes coffee from Impasug-ong; Hineleben Coffee and Damilag Coffee from Manolo Fortich; Highland Robusta from Maramag; Kape Napalit from Pangantucan; Peace Coffee from Valencia ; Senior Rogelio Coffee and MACOFA Coffee from Malitbog; and Mirayon Mountain Meadows Coffee from Talakag. (BukidnonNews.Net)

The author is a staffer at the Public Relations and Information Office of Central Mindanao University.