Of the six watersheds in Sarangani, the Glan Watershed is the biggest but at risk of losing its forest cover in seven years on a business-as-usual scenario. Barangay Datalbukay, one of Glan’s upstream barangays and home to Blaan and Manobo Indigenous Peoples, serves an ecosystem of coffee farms, many still using unsustainable practices, such as abandoning coffee trees thought to be unproductive. Such practices lead to agricultural expansion and limits the economic benefits of coffee production.
The USAID Safe Water Project is working with Glan Office of the Municipal Agriculturist to build the capacity of coffee farmers to learn new techniques and good agricultural practices that allow them to maximize productivity and income potential of their coffee farms. USAID and USDA ACDI-VOCA PhilCAFE Project have also been working collaboratively since 2022 to train more experienced coffee farmers within the province as mentors and trainers on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) protocols.
Thirty-five coffee farmers from Blaan Manobo Kadafun Detana Farmers Association, Inc. (BLAMAKADEFA), Lanao Kapanglaw Farmers Association (LKFA) and Datalbukay Organic Farmers Association (DBOFA) learned about selective harvesting (picking of red cherries only), sorting of coffee cherries, and processing (natural, honey and washed). Moreover, they learned the importance of elevated drying and how to construct an all-weather elevated dryer, defects identification, green coffee beans grading, and storage. These farmers were taught about coffee rejuvenation and pruning including care and maintenance to improve yield and quality of coffee cherries.
“We welcome these new approaches on harvest and processing of coffee beans because this will help us earn more and also help us protect the remaining forests in our watershed,” Gina Bueno, a coffee farmer, said.
By equipping coffee farmers, especially indigenous peoples, with new techniques in coffee production and post-harvest, they will increase productivity and income consequently, as well as contribute to watershed conservation by obviating expansion of agricultural areas. (USAID Safe Water Project)