Restrictions related to COVID-19 have started to ease in most parts of the Philippines, though the country remains under Code Red Sublevel 2, as it has since March. This indicates that transmission and the prevalence of cases may be beyond what the government can address. Despite this, many areas are moving toward less strict community quarantines.
With the easing of restrictions, the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) team accelerated its rollout of community- and family-based training to reach farmers in far-flung places. A group of coffee farmers turned mentors, who led the trainings from late June to July, trained families and communities in good agricultural practices.
The training reached 445 coffee farmers, 181 of whom were women. All of the trainings followed the recommended physical distancing and health protocols.
Despite looser restrictions, not all trainings could be help in person. To reach more farmers, especially those without internet access, PhilCAFE, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, launched a radio-based distance learning program. This came shortly after the Davao del Norte Province launched its own program aimed at boosting the province’s role in the coffee industry, as demand remains higher than the supply.
The first broadcast of PhilCAFE’s radio program aired on July 17 on Tagum City’s DXNR Radio 911 FM during its first “Coffee Farms of the Barangays” (“Kapehan sa Kabarangayan”) segment, which explores everything from site and land preparation to field planting and maintenance. It also aired on the Davao City radio station 1197 DXFE during its “Let’s Go Back to the Farm” (“Balik Kita sa Uma”) segment that airs every Saturday morning.
What made this initiative unique is that the initial broadcast aired simultaneously on Davao del Norte’s PTV Channel 48 television station along with a live feed on its official Facebook page that earned 1,800 views. This allowed the program to reach more audiences, extending beyond Davao del Norte to the Davao de Oro and Bukidnon provinces. Airing two more times in July on other radio stations, the program also reached the Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato provinces.
Despite ongoing challenges stemming from the pandemic, the PhilCAFE team continues to find new ways to push the five-year Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap forward.
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