Nescafe Supports Indigenous Coffee Farmers
As part of its efforts to support the coffee farmers, the rural communities and the local coffee industry, Nescafe, Nestle’s heritage coffee brand, extends its support to Bukidnon farmers by gifting them with superior coffee planting materials and free training and assistance on coffee growing.
The handover was made during the closing ceremony of the province’s annual Kaamulan Festival led by no less than Sen. Loren Legarda, Gov. Jose Ma Zubiri Jr. and Nestle Philippines’ senior vice president for corporate affairs Edith de Leon. Also present were the leaders from the seven tribes of Bukidnon, namely the Higaonon, the Manobo, the Matigsalug, Talaandig, the Tigwahonon and the Umayamnon.
The Kaamulan Festival, famous for being the country’s only tribal harvest festival, attracts more than 200,000 people from various parts of Mindanao.
Included in the package presented are coffee pulpers, coffee seeds and polybags for seedling production.
But more than the farm inputs, Nescafe will also provide free coffee farming training to three representatives of each tribe at the Nestle Experimental and Development Farm (NEDF) in Tagum City. After the training, Nestle agronomists will also do actual visitations to ensure that techniques learned are properly applied in their respective farms.
Our main objective is to empower our local coffee farmers to become self-sufficient, according to Edith de Leon. “We would want them to share techniques in decision making on how to increase their productivity as well as the quality of the coffee they produce. In the future, because of these empowered farmers, the Philippines can become self-sufficient in coffee.”
Odie Lanas, consumer marketing manager of Nescafe, lamented the fact that though coffee consumption in the country has increased through the years, local coffee growing has continued to slow down.
“We envision to contribute to improve on this through the help of our Nestle Agricultural Services’ free technical assistance,” says Lanas. “We want the consumers of Nescafe, not only to enjoy good coffee but to feel good about the products they support. Nescafe, through its efforts in promoting the local coffee farming industry, not only delivers good quality coffee, but also is a socially responsible brand.
Art Baria, head of NPI’s agricultural services department, said they have continued to work with various local government units as well as non-government organizations to develop a model program for coffee production in conjunction with agro-forestry and environmental protection.
One such group is Green Minds Inc., a development NGO which does organic farming training and farm development assistance with focus on the indigenous people and farmers across the country.
Green Minds, led by horticulturist Datu Gil Lomarda, -built a 220-square meter coffee nursery in Malitbog, North Bukidnon last June: He did it with the help of 18 tribesmen who completed a coffee training course in NEDF. Today, local farmers in the area await the production of its first seeds.
“We are here to show my fellow tribesmen that this is the way to do it,” revealed Lornarda. “We need to learn how to plant the seeds properly before we get them.”
In the past, Lomarda said that dole outs of such kind were either lost, discarded or stolen from the hands of the indigenous farmers.