‘BREWING SUCCESS’: Iloilo town opens facility for coffee farmers

By John Noel E. Herrera 

The popularity of local coffee shops is proof of how coffee farming has built huge potential in the agricultural landscape that farmers in the mountainous area of Sitio Buyuan-Baras in Igbaras, Iloilo make it their main source of living.

Anita Elgario Emano, one of the coffee growers in the area, said coffee farming in Igbaras, Iloilo has already been practiced way back in the 1950s using traditional practices of tilling and harvesting coffee beans.

And now, the coffee industry in the area keeps on improving through the help of the Local Government Unit of Igbaras, and other government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Social Works and Development (DSWD), which gave them equipment and the facility to improve the coffee production in Igbaras, Iloilo.

On March 29, 2023, the LGU-Igbaras, together with the DSWD inaugurated the Shared-Service Facility (SSF) on Coffee Post Harvest Facility of the Sitio Buyuan-Baras Coffee Growers Association (SBBCGA), which will serve as a place for local farmers to properly process their harvested coffee beans.

The budget for the facility came from the portion of the P600,000 budget given by the DSWD through its Livelihood Assistance Grant program, and P500,000 given by the LGU-Igbaras.

Emano noted that the facility will help the coffee growers in their post-harvest operations, which include the pulping, drying, hulling, cleaning, sorting, grading, roasting, grinding, and cupping of their products.

The farmers also underwent training conducted by the DTI, DA, and other private groups, which helped them enhance their skills in coffee farming, as well as in marketing aspects.

Emano noted that the trainings helped them ensure the quality production of coffee beans, and allowed them to sell the product at a higher price compared to before.

“Hanggod gid ang bulig kang kape kag trainings namon kay balikan naton ang nagligad, ang kuha sang prices sa kape diri, gamay lang gid, pero tulad nga na-train kami kag nag nami man ang quality, ti nag increase man price sang pagbaligya kag increase man amon kita,” Emano said.

However, the association only produced four tons of coffee this year, which is lower compared to their seven-ton production last year, according to Emano.

“Kay siguro sa climate change man nga init. Ang tyempo guro maka-apekto man sa produksyon namon sang kape, amu ra nubo ang produksyon tulad,” she explained.

But Emano noted that they still managed to earn and the quality of coffee beans remains good despite the unfavorable weather as many clients are buying their products, including in Luzon.

“Ang amon quality kang kape nami kag rako nga negosyante gakuha sa amon. Tulad gasige-sige gid amon operations. Wara man ti adlaw nga wara kami ti order. Iban through page ang pag-order, iban through sa member man or gaagtu gid ja kag magbakal,” Emano said as the coffee produced in Sitio Buyu-an-Baras is currently graded as fine robusta based on the results of the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC).

She added that the association continues to thrive to improve the quality of coffee beans, making sure that all the assistance given to them are worth it, as they are now bound to brew not just coffee, but success through their determination.

“Tiyaga lang, tapos determinasyon mo nga magpananom kang kape kay hanggod gid ja mabulig na sa mga tao kay syempre kauna gamay lng presyo na, pero tulad kay natutukan, nag-saka man. Hanggod ja nga bulig na ka namon nga farmers,” Emano stressed.