PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) has been working with the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA) since 2013. We have exported BACOFA green coffee bean (GCB) products to the United States, and have steadily supplied 5 cafes with roasted coffee beans (RCB). Our quality has attracted large distributors locally and abroad, but our low production and high prices have been the deal breakers. The bottle-neck is not in the production of raw cherry coffee (RCC), but in the processing of raw coffee into green coffee. BACOFA members has approximately 1 hectare each of coffee plants. On record we have 91 farmers, 31 of which are women and the rest are men.
Our plan is to increase BACOFA’s green coffee production by establishing a PeaceBuilders Community Post-Harvest Processing Plant. In this new site, 5000 kg of raw coffee will be processed per month. This is a small fraction of the entire production potential of the Bansalan Region of Mt. Apo. PeaceBuilders Community Post-Harvest Processing Plant is a low-risk/high-reward project which we would like to launch this year. It is projected to produce 784 kilograms of natural green coffee, 196 kilograms of washed green coffee, and 270 kilograms of commodity green coffee (a by-product) per month. This mill will allow us to produce the volume and quality at a very attractive price. And because Brazil, the top exporter of coffee, has been suffering from drought since early this year, water conservation and ecologically friendly coffees will be the hot topics in 2016. Our quality natural coffee, drying in bamboo greenhouses on bamboo drying beds, will be very marketable. Brazil’s drought will most likely cause coffee prices to go up, which will make our export quality green beans very attractive to local specialty roasters and cafes.
Our site will be established in a Bagobo community located in Barangay Managa, Bansalan, Mt. Apo. It is only 17 kilometers away from the BACOFA farms. The project will directly contribute to the livelihood of BACOFA members we have trained. We envision the success of PeaceBuilders Community Post-Harvest Processing Plant to have a ripple effect in the surrounding Bagobo-Tagabawa communities by bringing eco-tourism and added income opportunities to their area.
The process took us one year since we responded to the invitation of the Bagobo-Tagabawa community to establish this inclusive development program in their area. With the approval of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), a Memorandum of Agreement were signed by the Bagobo-Tabawa Tribal Council, the representatives of PBCI, and the representatives of the NCIP.
The social preparation for this project has been going on for the past eight months. We have assigned our most qualified Peace and Reconciliation Community Organizer in the person of Jobelyn Basas. Jobee, as we call her, belongs to the Aromanen Manobo tribe in Central Mindanao. She finished her Bachelor of Science in Community Development from the Southern Christian College in Midsayap, North Cotabato. She has been under the mentorship of PeaceBuilders School of Leadership for the past 18 months. Jobee is now training the local leaders of this PAR Community development project.
We hope that the uplifting of the Bagobo cultural heritage in this community may serve as an example of peace, reconciliation, and prosperity between IP’s and migrant farmers. Innovation in industrialization can blend the IP’s cultural heritage with the Migrant’s cultural history in a harmonious fashion that can be ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable. We are very excited to see this project off the ground, and we hope you’ll journey with us.
More about Jobee
JOBELYN P. BASAS
aka SIHAYA ANSIBOD
Jobee obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Development from Southern Christian College, Midsayap, Cotabato. She is a proud Aromanen Manobo — one of Mindanao’s indigenous peoples. Her tribal name is Sihaya Ansibod — “The Enlightened One”. Prior to coming to PBCI, she served as a psycho-social worker in an organization advocating and working for children’s rights. She has good working skills in dealing with various kinds of situations, proficient in working with computers, works effectively with PBCI office and field teams, and flexible in adapting changes in new settings.
Jobee serves as PAR Field Facilitator and Inclusive Development Worker
Asked about her experience working with PBCI staff: “Working with PeaceBuilders is an opportunity to learn new things and also having this unique experience of working with people I consider as family and friends. My co-workers at PeaceBuilders are family that love me, appreciate me, and motivate me; they are also friends that accept and respect me. I am happy that I belong to this community.”