Princess Kumala “Lalah” Elardo dreams of peace and prosperity for her beloved Sulu. Determined to realize this dream, she embarked on projects that could help find livelihood opportunities for more people, particularly in coffee farming. She also searched for groups who share the same dream and found food and beverage company Universal Robina Corporation (URC).
URC recently pledged to support the local coffee farmers of Sulu by placing an initial order of 10 metric tons of Pick-Red Robusta coffee beans harvested from the province.
This initiative traces its roots to Go Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu, a private sector-government partnership program that aims to support the government in helping Sulu attain prosperity and inclusive growth.
URC envisions its partnership with the coffee farmers in Sulu, People’s Alliance for Progress Multipurpose Cooperative (PAPMPC), to be an instrument of peace and progress for Sulu, which is affected by conflict and poverty.
COFFEE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
PAPMPC is an agrarian reform cooperative headed by Princess Lalah, a Tausug princess and entrepreneur from Panamao, Sulu. The organization maintains a coffee farm and sells commercial products such as the premium coffee brand, Sulu Royal Coffee.
PAPMPC abides by its “pick red” or picked ripe policy in harvesting beans to make sure its produce is high quality. Pick red policy was inspired by the meticulous process of the civet cat that yields the superior coffee bean harvest.
Through PAPMPC, Princess Lalah promotes peace in Sulu by offering decent work to the people of Sulu. “Most of the members of our cooperative are former rebels. They opted to put down their weapons in favor of coffee farming,” Princess Lalah shared.
Princess Lalah observed that the members of the cooperative have exhibited admirable team effort and hard work. She hopes to bring positive energy to more people, which can translate to more opportunities in productive farming.
URC and its mother company, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., share the same values as Princess Lalah and PAPMPC in enriching people and opening doors of opportunities for people to have a productive source of revenue. The conglomerate has several businesses in the Philippines and across Asia, which are home to over 50,000 workforce.
“This partnership with PAPMPC is significant to URC. Aside from its potential to help uplift a community, we see in Princess Lalah and her cooperative a strong association with our company’s values such as courage, determination and hard work. Our company believes in seizing opportunities to create sustainable and long-term businesses that are also beneficial for inclusive growth,” said URC Branded Consumer Foods Group EVP and Managing Director Nilo Mapa.
BREWING UP A PARTNERSHIP GEARED TOWARDS GROWTH
Employing its expertise in food manufacturing, URC seeks to help drive growth for the resource-rich and picturesque province of Sulu. Aside from introducing a lineup of fun and innovative snack foods and beverages, the company behind the well-loved C2, Chippy, Piattos, Presto and Cloud 9 brands, is also a big player in the local powdered coffee segment.
URC pioneered many firsts such as the locally-manufactured powdered coffee, Blend 45, and the White Coffee under its Great Taste Coffee brand. It also offered a convenient way for Filipinos to enjoy their coffee by launching unique packaging formats such as the Big Save Resealable Packs and Twin Packs.
The food manufacturing giant will explore the usage of the Sulu-produced, high quality coffee beans to develop a new product that will be carried under its Great Taste Coffee brand.
Princess Lalah shared that URC’s 10-metric ton order is 70% of their cooperative’s harvest for four months.
“The new product development is one of the fruits of our collaboration with the coffee farmers of Sulu. With its sustainable partnership with PAPMPC, we hope to contribute to the boosting of economic progress for the country and to making lives better for the Filipinos, Mapa added.