For the past 8 years, the country’s coffee sector gets together every October in what is called the National Coffee Summit. It is held simultaneously with a trade event called Coffee Origins. The annual meet is organized by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI), a private sector-led advocacy to promote Philippine coffee domestically and to global markets.
“This year, it will be our 3rd year in Davao City, because we know Mindanao is now the largest area for coffee-growing,” says Pacita Juan, PCBI Co-Chair and President.
And rightly so because Mindanao farmers have been encouraged by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte when he spoke at the opening of Coffee Month two years ago, in Davao City. The former city mayor even took PCBI chair Nicky Matti on a chopper to view the expansion areas for coffee in the Mt. Apo range.
To add the right ingredients for a sustainable coffee industry, the PCBI was recently appointed as In-Country-Partner (ICP) of the prestigious COFFEE QUALITY INSTITUTE (CQI), the world’s authority on Specialty coffee. This was made possible by the program of USDA and ACDI/VOCA called Mindanao Productivity through Agriculture Commerce and Trade (MinPACT) which is tasked to strengthen the coffee advocacy group in its vision and mission.
The 9th National Coffee Summit will now be held for two full days, and with a whole list of foreign speakers who are all coffee experts. It is set for October 12-13 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City. Topping the speaker list is Coffee Quality Institute Senior Adviser Ted Lingle, a known authority in Specialty coffee who came to the country in June, to assess stakeholder needs from as far north as Benguet to as far south as Davao. Dr. Dave D’Haeze of Hans Neumann Foundation, is a coffee scientist based in Vietnam who has seen record yields in Fine Robustas. Dr. Mario Fernandez is a known agro specialist who hails from Mexico. Joel Shuler, another coffee expert, has worked in Latin America. Fernandez and Schuler are two experts have seen and taken interest in Mindanao coffee beans, which is enough to make them want to come to the country and help the coffee farmers to improve processing techniques.
In coffee roasting, PROBAT (an esteemed brand from Germany) will be represented by its ASEAN representative Nol Bosman, who will discuss why specialty coffee needs special roasters, too. This brand has been endorsed by our own Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Aquatic Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD). PROBAT has also been installed in Cavite State University, a research center for coffee excellence.
The ACDI/VOCA Chief of Party Thelonious Trimmell will also speak on the progress MinPACT has made in Mindanao and its plans to continue work in Coffee, Cacao and Coconut sectors.
The 9th National Coffee Summit will be akin to a complete Specialty coffee course similar to what others attend in other countries but our farmers could never afford to go to. “I have had to go to the USA Specialty Coffee show to attend and listen to such speakers,” says Manny Torrejon, a coffee roaster for 30 years now and a PCBI director. “I am happy that we at PCBI now have a chance to bring these experts here,” he continues.
Local scientists, academe, and practitioners will likewise be included in the two-day coffee experts event. The goal of the PCBI is to bring together all stakeholders to unite the industry into one big machine to produce quality coffee to take to the world. With the surge of cheaper coffee imports, now estimated at about 70,000 MT worth at least P 6 Billion, the Filipino coffee farmer is hard-pressed to compete unless he does specialty coffee. Specialty coffee uses the language that CQI has established—that of grading coffee from 80-100 points. This is what PCBI envisions to teach every coffee farmer.
Besides ACDI/VOCA and CQI, other sponsors and partners who are joining the Coffee Board are DOST-PCAARRD, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), and a host of coffee processors, roasters and retailers.
If your firm is interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities, contact the PCBI at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 09088831218.