The four-year USDA Food for Progress Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade (MinPACT) project increases the incomes of smallholder cocoa, coconut, and coffee farming families in southern and western Mindanao. The project, which strengthens farmers’ capacity and that of other value chain actors, has been busy of late making grants and leading specialty coffee trainings.

ACDI/VOCA has made grants this week to two organizations building the coconut and cocoa sectors. The first went to the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindano, Inc. (CIDAMi), an offshoot of a group formed in response to the Philippine Cocoa Challenge, which challenges cacao producers to produce 100,000MT of dried and fermented cacao beans by 2020. CIDAMi represents cocoa stakeholders in Mindano. The grant will boost the association’s sustainability and develop its capacity. With CIDAMi, MinPACT is encouraging the inter-cropping of coconut and cacao trees, which makes better use of the land and diversifies farmers’ incomes.

The second grant ACDI/VOCA signed into reality this week is to the Davao Region Coconut Industry Cluster, Inc. (DRCICI), to establish its long-term viability as the go-to organization for the development of the coconut industry. DRCICI provides technical services and advocacy on behalf of the coconut sector.

MinPACT Trainings Demonstrate Specialty Coffee’s Income Potential

Thirty-two coffee stakeholders, including six coffee farmer organizations, participated in a three-day specialty coffee training of trainers workshop in Mindanano, Philippines, recently.

Coffee Quality Institute coffee value chain expert Daniel Mulu Asfaw led trainings that stressed the importance of post-harvest handling in the production of specialty coffee. Representatives from the Philippine Coffee Board (PCBI), an ACDI/VOCA grantee and coffee farmer advocacy group, participated as well.

Though the production of specialty coffee is more labor-intensive and requires greater patience than that of commercial-grade coffee, its yields are higher. Of specialty coffee in the Philippines, MinPACT Chief of Party Thelonius Trimmel said that although “The Philippines won’t be able to compete with Vietnam, Colombia or Brazil in terms of coffee volume, it definitely can [compete] in terms of quality.”


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