The P2.7 million cooperative-run coffee processing center in Brgy. Cabacungan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, the biggest of its category in the Visayas, will start operating this week, and expected to benefit hundreds of farmers in the town.
“It’s a dream come true for us, an honor and a blessing that we were awarded by the government with this processing center,” Cabacungan Integrated Social Forestry Farmers Association (CISFFA) president, Alfredo Sagario, said.
La Castellana is known for its coffee and the vast plantations are mostly inside the forest of Biak na Bato, Malasanao, Sag-ang, and Cabacungan.
Assisted by the Provincial Environment Management Office and the Department of Agriculture, the CISFFA farmers turned farming into a multi-purpose, multi-task activity.
“We are not just farmers, we are also environment warriors and businessmen,” Sagario said.
CISFFA manager Harry Olac said the P2.7 million processing center will include a nursery and a trading post, and will employ 12 people. He said the center will have a multiplier effect and will generate jobs and other farming and processing activities.
Aside from processing, the group will also go into seedling business and there will be trading post for everyday business of buying coffee from different areas of the town and other local government units.
“We will create a system and will make standards to come up with good quality coffee, the key is education and information in order that coffee farmers will get maximum profit from their produce,” he added.
With four depulpers, a dehuller and a large roaster, the center is expected to produce between eight to 10 tons of coffee a year. Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the stakeholders, the Department of Trade and Industry will assist the group in its packaging needs while the Department of Science and Technology will provide the technology, Olac said.
The group aims to eliminate the middlemen who, for decades, have deprived farmers of their income. “We have the best organic coffee and we make sure that, this time, we will maximize the profit though processing and value-adding activities,” Sagario said.
With capital outlay of P300,000, the group strives to make it to the grading test, this time, through thorough traceability practices to win the market.
There are four coffee processing centers assisted by the DA nationwide, two in Luzon, one in Mindanao, and CISFFA for the Visayas.*
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