‘BREWING OPPORTUNITIES’: Iloilo Coffee Festival aims to boost local industry

Coffee enthusiasts join the opening of the Iloilo Coffee Festival at SM City Iloilo on Aug 24, 2022. (John Noel E. Herrera photo)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The launching of the Iloilo Coffee Festival on Wednesday, Aug 24, 2022 at SM City Iloilo and Festive Walk Mall, in Mandurriao district would brew different opportunities for the local coffee shop brands and coffee industry in Iloilo.

During the opening of the festival in SM City Iloilo, Ruby Melliza, officer-in-charge of the Business Development Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Western Visayas, said the coffee industry is one of the seven priority sectors of DTI, and the program serves as an avenue to promote the local coffee products to the public.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the celebration of the Iloilo Coffee Festival only shows that the coffee industry in Iloilo is continuously growing.

“Kadamo sang coffee sa aton probinsya. Ang iban nga mga produkto naga panaog na, daw tapos na tiyempo nila, so it is about time nga parehas ni sang kape, tiyempo naman ni nila. Local ini nga industry nga dapat buligan gid naton kay bangod nga ang kape ma grow gid ni ya sa aton probinsya. Kita bilang alcalde sang syudad, nagabulig gid kita sa probinsya,” Treñas added.

(We have a lot of coffee in the province. Some of our products are already going down, it seems that it is not its season already, and it’s already like the peak season for the coffee industry. This is a local industry that we should help because we can really grow coffee in the province. As your mayor, we are really helping the province.)

DTI also prepared 18 kinds of training for the entrepreneurs to improve their products – from its packaging, marketing, down to the service quality.

“We have trade fairs like this to promote our coffees and it is like a market test. Look at your packaging, people will look at the packaging before they will drink or eat the products. If the food is packed nicely, people will think that it is delicious, so we need to improve, and DTI prepared 18 trainings this year, and you should avail those,” Melliza said.

Melliza also said that trade fairs became a market test for participating local brands if the public really wanted to buy the products and to determine improvements of the products.

Meanwhile, some participating local coffee shop brands also expressed that through the event, they were given the opportunities to promote their products that could really help their business.

“Tungod diri nagaan kami opportunity nga i-promote pa gid amon coffee products and di lang matabunan sang coffeeshops nga hindi local. Ga hope man ko ma continue siya kag ang mga tao suportahan man nila ang tatak lokal gid,” a crew from one of the participating local coffee shops said in an interview.

(With this, it is like we were given the avenue to promote our coffee products and not be overshadowed by international brands. I hope this event will continue, and the public will support what is truly local.

With the tagline “I Like It Lokal”, the festival serves as an avenue for the Iloilo coffee community and the neighboring provinces to grow the coffee industry together, and to build awareness for the farm-to-cup movement, as well as to foster good relations between farmers, suppliers, coffee shop owners, and other stakeholders in the region.

The festival also supports the local micro, small and medium coffee stakeholders, and signals the start of the annual gathering of coffee stakeholders in Panay to promote the local coffee industry.

Aside from the Coffee Trade Fair, other activities of the festival also include Eskwela Kape, Coffee Trade Exhibit, Kitaay sa Kape, Istorya Kape, Hampang Kape and Pinta Kape.

The Iloilo Coffee Festival which is part of the Iloilo Business Week and in line with the celebration of Iloilo City 85th Charter Day will run from Aug 24 to 28, 2022.