Entrepreneur pushes sustainable coffee farming

About 280 individuals from Benguet’s coffee farming trade and neighboring coffee farming communities attended the recently concluded Kape Kabuhayan Kinabukasan Summit 2018, a conference held by The Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence and Henry & Sons in partnership with the municipal government of La Trinidad.

FSCE director Emil Cuaresma said the foundation, as well as the platforms and programs under it, serve as avenues to establish shared prosperity among the coffee growers of Benguet. 

Held at the Lednicky Hall of La Trinidad Municipal Building, the summit began with words of welcome from municipal agriculturist Felicitas Ticbaen, and featured a segment on Sustainable Coffee Farming by Arabica coffee scientist Prof. Valentino Macanes of Benguet State University’s College of Agriculture.

Macanes noted the importance of a multi-sectoral approach where every stakeholder within the coffee value chain should do their part in maintaining the quality production of Arabica coffee—from coffee growers practicing what they learn, to state universities continuing their research and to government and private agencies giving their full support.

FSCE director and Henry & Sons president Michael Harris Conlin shared ideas on how to earn more out of planting coffee by fully utilizing and monetizing nature’s gift—the whole coffee tree.

With a live demo on how his signature beverage is made, one that’s inspired by his recent trip to Gesha Village in Ethiopia, Conlin said he used ingredients sourced from the coffee tree, and served as his entry in this year’s Philippine National Barista Championship.

Ingredients of Conlin’s signature beverage include tea made from dried coffee leaves for complementing the tea-like finish, parchment syrup made from coffee parchment to enhance the brown sugar sweetness and give it a candy tamarind taste, cascara extract that was steeped overnight to complement the fruity taste and coffee flower oil extracts that add an aroma of Arabian jasmine to the drink.

Conlin, a coffee explorer, innovator and social entrepreneur also gave KKK Summit attendees an idea on how they could make ends meet while waiting for the harvest season.

FSCE director Emil Cuaresma also gave audiences a peek at the foundation’s 2018 calendar filled with programs lined up each month to help reach the goal of a more sustainable coffee farming landscape. 

Apart from the launch of FSCE’s Barista Camp, a free barista training for interested coffee farming youth, the month of May will be spent in search of new scholars to be inducted into FSCE’s Coffee for Great Minds educational assistance program sponsored by its newest partner, Baguio-grown pizza parlor Amare La Cucina.

June will mark the second run of vaccination programs in partnership with luxury buffet restaurant Vikings Philippines under the Beans for the Little Ones program for coffee farming kids of a new barangay in La Trinidad.

Post harvesting facilities will then be awarded in July, while water gallons and filtrations will be awarded in September, as part of the Cup to Seed and The Giving Well programs, respectively. July’s post-harvest facilities were purchased through funds generated from A Cup of Thankful, a campaign started by one of FSCE’s generous partners, 7 Eleven.

November holds the second installment of the summit with the announcement of financial aid recipients of the foundation’s Beans Within Reach pay-to-plant program.

All programs are in line with FSCE’s goal of empowering Benguet coffee growers into making coffee sustainable long into the future and bringing Philippines back into the global coffee spotlight.

Topics: Benguet , coffee farming
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