The year 2020 began on a promising note for the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) project, beginning with the Philippine Coffee Expo (PCE) being announced to take place in April. The PhilCAFE team had lined up activities to continue supporting coffee producer organizations, coordinating trainings, and establishing coffee nurseries.
However, by mid-March, the Philippines had entered quarantine. While the COVID-19 pandemic limited the movement of PhilCAFE staff across target communities, the team developed adaptive methods to allow distance learning and found creative ways to engage the coffee sector through technology and social media.
The team launched a radio-based training program called Kapehan sa Kabarangayan (Coffee Farmers of Barangays), which included pre-recorded lectures on good agricultural practices that reached 7,800 farmers through radio stations and the PCE Facebook page. Community and family-based remote trainings also took place with more than 100 project-supported coffee mentors.
The PhilCAFE project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, helped farmers establish six new coffee nurseries across project sites through in-kind grants. Seven of the 45 producer organizations being supported by the project produced nearly half a million coffee seedlings last year. These groups also benefited from credit-matching sessions, organized by PhilCAFE and Landbank of the Philippines to improve their access to finance and credit. The bank ultimately committed to providing a 12 million (Philippine peso) loan package to one farmer group and a 10 million (Philippine peso) credit line to another to augment their production and marketing funds.
Many partnerships also kicked off, including an agreement with two farmer cooperatives —Oro Integrated Cooperative and MILFACO — to provide technical assistance on coffee nursery management and organizational development needs. PhilCAFE also teamed up with several education institutions to implement new farm-to-cup coffee courses.
Explore all of the PhilCAFE project’s highlights from the challenging 2020 year, below: