First HEI led national coffee summit grid to boost coffee industry
Date: June 15,2016

      "Partnership is the name of the game," said CHED Commissioner Alex Brilliantes Jr. in his keynote speech during the successful holding of the first Higher Education Summit on Academe- LGU-Industry Linkage on Coffee or dubbed as Coffee Summit held last March 1-3, 2016 with Benguet State University, La Trinidad Benguet as the host SUC.

Said summit is a brain child of Comm. Brillantes in partnership with the National Economic and Development Authority- Cordillera Administrative Region (NEDA-CAR)headed by Dr. Milagros A. Rimando, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) headed By Dr. Ricardo Rotoras, the Cordillera Administrative Region Association of State Universities and Colleges (CARASUC) headed by its chairman, Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon. .

The summit was generally successful in bringing together a total of 150 or 75 % of the targeted 150-200 participants 102 or 68% of whom came from 34 State Universities and Colleges (SUC's), 17 were representatives from the Private Sector and 10 were key officials from different National Line Agencies.. .

"Let us close-in the gap. We have lots of demand but very low supply. We could do something about this," said Gov. Nestor Fongwan posing the challenge to the participants as he graced the said event. .

DOST-CAR Director Victor Mariano and CHED-CAR Director Romulo H. Malvar were also present. .

There were 10 exhibitors mostly from the CARASUC who featured their products, technologies and researches simultaneous with the proceedings of the summit. .

Highlights of the exhibit included coffee paintings by Mr. Patrick C. Palasi from Tam-awan Village, a coffee pavilion from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with Espresso Machine and services of baristas from Equilibrium, green house and coffee machines from BSU College of Engineering and Applied Technology.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the said exhibit was officiated by Comm. Brillantes, Jr., Dir. Rimando, Dr. Dacyon, La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda and BSU OIC President Dr. Jones Feliciano and Gov. Fongwan. .

"In almost all of the initiatives of various sectors, poverty reduction is a common thrust so we appreciate your efforts in making this summit a suitable venue for you to gather and make known your goals and aspirations," shared Mayor Tabanda.

Dir Rimando: targets are not insurmountable.
The targets are not insurmountable, much more impossible. Through good partnerships with SUCs, LGUs, private industries and NGAs, the targets would not just be met, but could even be surpassed," assured Dir. Rimando.

Dir. Rimando headed out the panel on the state of coffee industry. She sketched the image of the local and national coffee industry for the participants by presenting the state of the coffee industry by the numbers, the multi-fold issues besetting the industry and the initiatives in place and plans being brewed to address the issues.

Moreover, Dr. Dacyon presented the state of the coffee industry in the context of the role of SUCs. Despite the meager percent share of the country in the international coffee production, Dr. Dacyon asserted that the coffee plan must still be a continuing challenge to the SUCs and other key players on coffee because many literature suggests that the Philippine coffee is preferred.

"With the sharing of best practices and development of models, legislation may be passed for a future Philippine Coffee Institute like the PhilRice," punched Dr. Dacyon.

The state of coffee industry from the point of view of the Department of Agriculture (DA) was presented by Dir. Caranguian. He focused mainly on the production side and a bit on the post-production side.

"If there was anything to contribute, it should be for the improvement of the overall condition of the farmers," Dir. Caranguian reiterated.

Dir. Caranguian noted that DA has invested 145 million in the coffee industry from 2010 to 2015, 30.5 million of which went to coffee production support including processing equipment; 70.7 million for coffee-based infrastructure and facilities; about 15 million for planting materials; 4 million for fertilizers; 3 million for nursery establishment; and 1.5 million for small scale irrigation system, all of which benefitted about 16,000 farmers. Coffee producers have also been identified and the livelihood interest groups provided with fund assistance ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 pesos per group.

"The quality of the coffee that one drinks starts from the quality of the beans or seedlings that one plants. "From seed to cup" signifies an integrative interaction from the farmers to the market-from production to consumption," expounds Dir. Pablo.

Dir. Pablo emphasized that one can't do away from any part of the value chain because the industry needs the coffee farmers, just as much as it needs the traders and the buyers.

Increase of production areas and organic agriculture seen as market niches
Representatives from SUCs such as BengSU, and Central Philippine State University raised issues addressed to the first panelists such as: lack of actual figures on the number of farmers who have established new plantations and the average area of said farms/plantations; lack of measures to monitor distributed coffee seedlings; and, viability of tissue-cultured coffee seedlings and preference on type of fertilization to be employed for targeted increased yield.

"There are Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) and the Philippine National Standards (PNS) to provide for the standards which have to be followed relative to the coffee industry," replied Dir. Pablo.

Dir. Caranguian added that under the concept of organic agriculture and GAP, inorganic fertilization is still allowable but only up to certain levels called the economic threshold standards. From the point of view of cost reduction and cost reducing technologies, he said that organic fertilizers are more conducive as they are way below the cost of inorganic fertilizer, which costs about four to five times higher.

Brand and market, says PCBI
"The Philippine coffee industry do not need the big volume; what it needs is to be known properly," said Mr. George Judan, the Director of the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) .

At the core of Dir.Judan's presentation was the need to brand and the need to market. He said that given the unique features of the Cordilleras, it has the distinct advantage to be known for specialty coffee, which are beans of the best and unique flavor profiles produced in special micro climates.

"From the perspective of investment, alumni may actually be tapped to finance the SUC researches," said Dir. Judan in response to what Dr. Laurea's issue on the partnership of SUCs and private entities.

He said that PCBI were also partnering with leading foreign institutions such as the Coffee Quality Institute to open the latter's eyes to the Philippine market, which may in turn be a door opener for investments to SUC initiatives.

The key success factors, according to Ms. Celine Anne L. Acu˜a who represented Mr. Pierre Cote of Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Corporation, are: to work together by adapting course curriculum to private sector needs; by involving private sector for internship program; by conducting research adapted to private sector needs, and also by providing extension services needed by the private sector.

Acu˜a added that the private sector, on the other hand, has to contribute by providing materials for course curriculum, by financing scholarship for students, by financing research for scientists, and by financing extension services.

Further, Vice President Ruth Novales of Nescafe Philippines Corporate Affairs Office said that one entity alone does not make the value chain system necessary to impact the Philippine coffee industry.

"The coffee training, training the trainers, business management and accounting training, stewardship of the environment including waste segregation and fertilization are therefore not solo efforts but a whole value chain that involves prolific actors from the national government agencies, local government units, State Universities and Colleges and private sector," Novales said.

Meanwhile, Ms. AntussaRefalda, the proprietor of Kalinga Brew set off the session on the Role of the Private Sector in the Coffee Industry. She shared that coffee production seemed to be 50%, which gravely affected her business and the lives of her workers. Thus she called on the concerned agencies to help the coffee entrepreneurs and farmers as well as encouraged others to process their own coffee and contribute to the development of the coffee industry

Known as the region's coffee, Refalda have been promoting the Kalinga brew during fiestas as well as in local exhibits in the province, in Baguio, and in Metro Manila and even as far as international exhibits-next in line will be in Europe. Cooperative were organized and engaged in coffee processing, involving community members especially women.

"As part of the private sector, my advocacy is to to help farmers produce coffee to help them transform their lives," said Refalda.

Academe engaged in technology generation
"There are various ways on how the academe can develop the coffee industry. First is through research technology generation and innovation, commercialization, education, training, and certification," said Dr. RuelMojica, Director, National coffee research, Development and Extension center (NCRDEC) of Cavite State University.

"The role of academe in sustaining the coffee industry for an improved productivity and quality will resort to an increase in income, better nutrition, health, safety and education which will lead to an improved living condition and sustainable development," Dr. Mojica added.

Meanwhile, the Kalinga State University produces organic coffee and supplies at least 68% in the Cordillera Administrative Region. At present, they have at least 3,427 hectares of coffee plantation.

"The participation of KSU in the crafting of the Regional Coffee Industry Development Plan signifies an important role in the development of industry especially in the Province of Kalinga," said KSU Research Director Robert Rodolfo during the plenary on the role of academe in the coffee industry.

"Coffee has been identified as a priority commodity for the science research agenda 2012-2016 and will very likely also be identified as priority commodity for the next science and technology agenda," said Highland Agriculture, Aquatic and National Resources Research Development Consortium (HAARDEC) Director, Dr. SonwrightMaddul supporting the earlier recommendations.

"On the initiative on policy analysis and advocacy for coffee, the consortium has been pushing for coffee as the primary commodity for regional development," Dr. Maddul affirmed.

Faculty and fund logistic issues, among possible areas for intervention
A workshop was held on the third day of the activity facilitated by Comm. Brilliantes. It was aimed at bringing out issues and concerns regarding coffee industry.

The formed seven groups first identified major issues, concerns and challenges pertaining to the design and development of linkages and partnerships between the academe and the community (industry local government, farmers etc.) b ased on their knowledge experiences and wisdom and based on previous discussion and debates held during the first two days as well as to identify actions that can be taken to address these challenges.

Political and faculty deloading issues, fund logistics, farmer concerns and partnership framework were the top five major issues which came out during the said workshop.

Among the recommended Programs, Projects and Activities (PPAs) the establishment of Technology Based Incubators (TBIs) on coffee, training and training needs assessment, commodity assessment, initiating MOAs with corresponding provincial and local agriculture offices, evaluation of the Philippine Development Plan (2010-2015), consultations, fund sourcing and prioritization were among the plans that the summit was able to put in place.

Further, policies on bottom up budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, financing and auditing scheme, municipal leadership and governance programs, faculty deloading, standardizing workload scheme for extension PPAs, RDE incentives through CHED/DBM/COA Memorandum circulars and creations of research and extension plantilla items are now being considered as targets.

SUCs commit to include coffee PPAs in their plans
Raising the awareness of the participants on the Coffee Development Plan of CAR and the National Coffee Master Plan, the coffee PPAs of partners on coffee from the industry, the LGUs and other entities are the major outcomes of the summit.

There was multi-sectoral convergence and expression of support from the fund managers like Mr. Alcantara and others. As a result, the summit had posed challenges and inspired the major coffee key players, actors, and supporters to strengthen their linkage.

It also facilitated initial forging of partnerships among the SUCs and even private schools in CAR on coffee PPAs.

There was also the strengthening of ties among agencies/sponsors and consultants of the summit. Sharing of innovations and best practices were considered to have been set in place to mention BatSU and CavSU as potential technology sources (i.e. coffee roasting machine).

With this as a breakthrough, many SUCs have committed to include coffee PPAs in their plans.

"It is deemed viable that parties involved in decision-making should seriously start thinking and planning or better still act decisively about instituting the research university and research-intensive professional colleges and institutes where graduate education is not so much about courseworks but about the research work of both the graduate students and the faculty," said CHED Deputy Executive Director B. Napoleon Imperial in his closing remarks.

'Coffee and friends' song, featured as coffee summit hymn
The song 'Coffee and Friends' which was originally composed by Dr. Dacyon, music Arranged by Andy Villamor and popularized by singing Artists Emus and Ethan Ventura was adopted as the coffee summit hymn.

The composer was inspired by the unity of the national government, local government units, academe, and private sector in facing the stark realities and challenges besetting the country's coffee industry.

Drawing from the same inspiration, Dr. Dacyoncomposed another song, "Difference that lasts", which like "Coffee and Friends" aims to inspire the participants, organizers and consultants, and all the working teams of thefirst Higher Education Summit on Academe Industry-LGU linkage for coffee, coffee growers, producers, processors, entrepreneurs and advocates, to continue converging as partners, sharing each other's blessings, and leaving a trail that can last forever.

A coffee planting activity marked the closing of the 3-day activity. It was an initiative of the Benguet State University's Institute of Highland Farming Systems and Agroforestry (IHFSA).

Full name: