A group of coffee growers in Murcia town, Negros Occidental continues to aim for sustainable production amid a thriving enterprise that has brought them national recognition.
The Minoyan Murcia Marginal Coffee Growers or M3CG, comprised of 56 smallholder farmers, with assistance from the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-6), is working to go beyond manufacturing by expanding into an enterprise through value-adding to increase revenue.
Six years ago, the association went into clustered farming, which combined the members’ harvests to achieve a higher coffee volume to trade, and they were able to reduce transport and transaction costs and improve their income.
“Joining the cluster helped the members improve farming practices and become more financially stable,” M3CG director Teddy Cañete said in a statement on Monday.
It also allowed them to access institutional market and production linkages, technical and financial support, and production inputs not only from the DA, but also from the Department of Trade and Industry, Negros Occidental provincial government, and private institutions.
After relying on just conventional farming management to produce coffee, the DA mentored them, paving the way for the M3CG to grow and strengthen its capabilities, and eventually produce good quality coffee beans.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist also assisted them in reaching for value-adding pursuits as well as encouraged them to innovate their products and look at the prospect of putting up their own coffee shop.
For now, the M3CG continues to be a partner of Coffee Culture Roastery Shop in Bacolod City, which buys their green coffee beans (GCB) at PHP160 per kilo of sorted Robusta, and PHP250 for a kilo of Liberica and Excelsa.
At an average production of 500 kilograms per hectare, Cañete said the members get to receive around PHP80,000 for sorted GCB, and PHP150,000 to PHP300,000 for ground Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa.
“We strive to get higher earnings given the support that we receive from the DA,” he added.
So far, the DA-6 has provided the M3CG farm machinery and post-harvest facilities, including pruning shears, handsaw, fermentation box, grinder, depulper, solar dryer, and roasting machine.
The association also hopes to acquire additional tools and equipment from the agency to establish a coffee processing and packaging center that is compliant with the Food and Drug Administration standards.
During the 2018 National Coffee Expo held in Baguio City, the M3CG was recognized to have among the highest-grade Robusta variety during the cupping match judged by the country’s coffee Q-graders.
DA-6 regional coffee coordinator Jairus Sirue said that by joining cupping competitions, coffee growers and cooperators are given the opportunity to introduce their coffee to the local market while eyeing global prospects.
“This way, we can also gauge the quality of coffee produced,” he added. (PNA)