The Department of Trade and Industry Bukidnon Provincial Office (DTI-BUK), in collaboration with Washington-based international economic development organization Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) gathered 59 Bukidnon Coffee Industry prime movers in Valencia City on May 15 to discuss great marketing opportunities and recognize several of the province’s coffee industry achievements.

Thelonnious Trimmell, ACDI/VOCA’s Chief of Party, explained the details regarding the First “Kape Pilipino” Coffee Cupping Competition held in Cavite City, Philippines last March, adding that through the competition, two of Bukidnon’s coffee producers were given the chance to attend the Global Specialty Coffee Expo held in Seattle, Washington last April 19 to 30.

Aside from this, he also explained a few points about the Q-Grader course and presented some of the most noted coffee market opportunities which Bukidnon’s Coffee Industry can take advantage of.

Thelonnious Trimmell of ACDI/VOCA at the Bukidnon Coffee event.
Thelonnious Trimmell, ACDI/VOCA’s Chief of Party, speaking at the Bukidnon Coffee Industry Cluster event in Valencia City last May 15.

There are two main markets for coffee: there’s the specialty coffee market and the commercial coffee market. The specialty coffee market is what we’re really trying to promote here in the Philippines, based on the specialty coffee associations of America’s cupping system. People buy these kinds of coffee based on the score they receive because of the cupping process that it went through” Trimmell explained.

While the commercial coffee market takes 90 percent or most of the whole buying market, Trimmell emphasized that it has not gone through so much changes in its pricing as compared to how drastic the historic price fluctuations specialty coffee market went through over the years.

Coffee display at Bukidnon Coffee Industry Cluster event.
One of the coffee displays at the Bukidnon Coffee Industry Cluster event in Valencia City last May 15.

He also added that it is very critical for Bukidnon’s Coffee Industry Cluster to learn how to take care of their specialty coffee. More often than not, farmers and producers alike are easily swayed to shift in producing other commodities especially when the price for specialty coffee goes down. This shift in commodity choice can threaten the existence of specialty coffee varieties due to the decrease in its production and supply.

“We want to ensure that farmers or producers know how to evaluate their coffee. Buyers buy coffee based on the evaluation of cupping stores, to pay for the right price of that coffee. It is important that farmers know what they have and the value of their coffee. It is one of our goals to train people to know how to evaluate coffee, to understand its attributes and its defects and then come up with that cupping score,” he said.

DTI Compostela PD Lucky Siegfred Balleque at the Bukidnon Coffee event.
DTI-Compostella Valley Provincial Director Lucky Siegfred Balleque at the Bukidnon Coffee Industry Cluster event in Valencia City last May 15.

DTI-Compostella Valley Provincial Director Lucky Siegfred Balleque recommended that participating groups and agencies can consider supporting the needs of the coffee industry such as the provision of high-quality equipment made by internationally-known brands, the enhancement of product packaging which will allow local brands to compete internationally, the implementation of the cupping culture in line with the number of Q-graders produced in the country, among others.

Both winners of the Cupping Competition in Cavite City, Philippines – Imelda Mendoza, the president of the Rural Improvement Club (RIC) Federation of Kape Maramag, and Bae Inadlawan also known as Adelina Tarino, the Manager of Indahig Tribal Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ITMPC).