The women of Kalamansig coffee
March 14, 2020 - Saturday 6:03 PM by MDMBETTER LIFE WITH COFFEE. Allen Biora, the President of Tinandok Women's Organization, a group of women coffee farmers in Kalamansig, is looking forward to a better life through her coffee produce. PEF photo
The Moro Gulf, where a variety of fish such as tuna and bangus can be harvested, serves as the major fishing ground of the coastal communities facing its waters. Both upland and lowland areas are considered agricultural hubs, with corn, banana, and coconut as major produce.
Another high-valued crop raised and roasted in the municipality is coffee. And the women of Kalamansig are making sure that Filipinos are drinking the best cup of it.
Leonora Baliguat owns a hectare of coffee farm with 1,000 trees in Barangay Sta. Clara. She has been farming since 1985, helping her husband Emegildo.
Leonora Baliguat owns a hectare of coffee farm with 1,000 trees in Barangay Sta. Clara. She has been farming since 1985, helping her husband Emegildo. PEF photo
"Ako po ang nagpupruning ng mga puno (ng kape) saka naglilinis dito sa farm (I am the one who prunes the coffee trees and cleans the farm as well)," she said.
Farmers like Baliguat sell their beans at P85 per kilo to local traders, who in turn supply them to big companies like Nestlé, which produces the widely known beverage Nescafe.
"Kapag hindi season ng kape, sa mga traders din kami tumatakbo at umuutang para sa aming pang-araw-araw na gastos (When it’s not coffee season, we also rely on the traders for our daily needs)," she said.
Allen Biora talks with representatives of KFADMA about buying her coffee beans. Biora is the President of Tinandok Women's Organization, a group of women coffee farmers in Kalamansig. PEF photo
Another woman coffee farmer, Allen Biore, who lives in the upland community in Barangay Wasay, shared that transporting their harvests also reduces the income derived from coffee.
"Tatlong piso kada isang kilo ang bayad sa habal-habal. Malaking kabawasan po ito sa kita naming mga magsasaka (Habal-habal operators charge us P3 per kilo. This takes out a large chunk of our income as farmers).
Biore is the president of Tinandok Women's Organization, a group of 32 women farmers who produce coffee in Barangay Wasay. According to her, an increase in market price will serve as a cushion for family expenses.
Coffee trees grown in Kalamansig. The province of Sultan Kudarat is one of the highest coffee producers in the country. PEF photo
Support to the farmers
The Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) linked the Kalamansig Farmers Agricultural Development and Marketing Association (KFADMA) to new markets that give higher prices to their coffee.
"We entered the value chain of coffee here in Kalamansig and the nearby town of Lebak, knowing that traders control the prices. We introduced the farmers to a new local trader in Batangas who buys the coffee beans at P95 per kilo," PEF Area Officer Shunie Pearl Palacios said.
Coffee beans being dried. Some of these produce are sold to buyers like Nestle. PEF photo
PEF and KFADMA are now looking to build model farms in Kalamansig for coffee producers to learn new farming techniques that will improve both production and quality.
"We will be partnering with other CSOs and the local government to make this happen," Palacios said.
Representatives from of KFADMA, PEF, and ACDI-VOCA meet with the municipal agriculturist of Kalamansig on February 20 to discuss partnership in improving production and quality of coffee in the municipality. PEF photo
This collaboration is expected to benefit the lives of many farmers like Baliguat and Biore and offer more opportunities to other women in Kalamansig.
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