One of the most traded agricultural commodities around the world is coffee, affecting the livelihood of the people producing it. The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) that staying focused on quality will help address the challenges and issues faced by small- and medium-sized coffee farmers.
In 2016, CQI and the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) signed an In-Country Partner Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding that establishes a dynamic working relationship for the benefit of the Philippines. Ultimately, the partnership promotes the welfare of coffee producers and the quality of their coffee.
CQI operations director Lisa Conway shares what makes the partnership work and what it means for Filipino coffee farmers.
WHAT MADE PCBI THE RIGHT IN-COUNTRY PARTNER FOR CQI?
“PCBI is in a leadership position to support all coffee quality improvement initiatives for the Philippine coffee sector that can result in improved quality and improved incomes for producers. Their unique position has them working with both the public and private sectors. They assumed a direct role in the planning and execution of the Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Competition and have worked very hard to be a fair and transparent leader in the coffee sector.”
HOW HAS PCBI’S PARTNERSHIP HELPED CQI’S WORK OF HELPING FARMERS THROUGH EDUCATION AND TRAINING?
“Through the partnership, CQI has been able to access coffee producers from all regions of the Philippines and make sure that they are included in quality improvement training, as offered through the MinPACT program.”
WHAT ELSE CAN THE PARTNERSHIP ACCOMPLISH?
“As the global coffee word becomes more aware of the Philippines as a coffee-producing origin of distinction, CQI can continue to work with PCBI on technical trainings, international promotions and spreading knowledge and awareness of international coffee standards and buyer requirements.”
CQI and PCBI have worked together on multiple strategic initiatives including:
2017 Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Quality Competition
“This event is intended to serve the sector and encourage the development for coffee producers. A first-generation inception event that was very well received (78 samples submitted from 15 regions). The winning coffees were represented and promoted at the 2017 Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, Washington, and were presented to an international audience during the Specialty Coffee Association event in a public cupping. This level of marketing opportunities changed the way people talk about Philippine coffee. The conversation was immediately able to focus on producing regions, producing organization, variety, processing method and the personal story behind the coffee.”
Training Q Arabica and Q Robusta Graders
“Coffee knowledge is rapidly increasing via CQI’s cupper training programs and making Q Coffees a reality for Filipino producers and producer groups. The cupping courses have resulted in a net increase in trained Q Arabica Graders, for a total of 32 Q Arabica Graders and ten licensed Q Robusta Graders (started with 0) now vested in the business of grading coffee. Their quality assessment will work to advise coffee producers on how to improve their coffee and eliminate factors that make the quality deteriorate, look outward to markets that will buy coffee based on their quality statements.”
2017 Specialty Global Coffee Expo
“The April cupping event at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo event was extremely successful, with about 20 cuppers (green buyers, roasters, coffee professionals, researchers) actively participating in the cupping session and about 25 observers in the room. There was a high degree of interest in these coffees in general, especially the Robusta coffees―Famer Brothers Coffee and Just Coffee Lab and school remarking on the high level of quality at par with the other fine Robustas. Several companies expressed interest in samples and buying opportunities for both species. The message of ‘quality drives price and interest’ was this event’s educational theme and was not lost on the Philippine group.
MinPACT, or the Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade, is a project funded by the US Department of Agriculture and implemented by ACDI/VOCA focused on cacao, coffee, and coconut products. The goal is to increase agricultural productivity and income of small-farm families.