With the theme, “Coffee Industry for Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth”, the first Higher Education Summit on Academe- Industry- LGU Linkages for Coffee was held on March 1- 3, 2016 at the Benguet State University Gymnasium, La Trinidad, Benguet.
The said activity aimed to bring together national line agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs), private sector and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to understand regional programs and to promote partnerships and coordination towards a dynamic and sustainable development of coffee industry.
The topics discussed include the state of the coffee industry and the role of the various coffee stakeholders. Presenters came from NGAs, LGUs, Private Sector and SUCs to share their best practices in coffee production, pricing and marketing.
Coffee, the 2nd largest commodity after oil, continues to grow in popularity and demand locally and internationally. In fact, it has become a strategic commodity as it was adopted as the One Town Product (OTOP) of the Cordillera which has a natural resource base for premium coffee production. It also has a great economic potential for wealth creation, and has a long role in the region’s history and culture.
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) promotes coffee industry clustering for the Cordillera region. The CAR Development Plan also promotes coffee industry clustering for the Cordillera region among the regional agencies, SUCs, NGOs and LGUs to ensure support services through entrepreneurial training, plantation and post- harvest development, improvement and processing performance, establishment and sustenance of an enabling environment, continuing research and development extension, promotion and marketing, and access to finance for the coffee sector.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has also prepared a National Coffee Roadmap. Likewise, the Regional Development Council (RDC) CAR initiated the formulation of the Cordillera Coffee Industry Development Plan. The different agencies such as SUCs, DA High Value Crop Development, DTI NICCEP, DOST- SET- UP and CAPE, DENR NGP, DA- SUC nurseries implement different programs to support the region’s Coffee Development Plan.
SUCs also highlighted their partnership with private sectors. In the case of Benguet State University (BSU), it partnered with Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Company (RMACC). Similarly, Cavite State University (CavSU), Batangas State University (BatSU) and other SUCs have their own coffee initiative programs.
The Landbank, on the other hand, provide support by establishing a window for coffee loan financing.
An action plan which highlights the fundamental principles of academe- industry partnership towards the strengthening of the coffee industry was prepared by the participants.
The activity was an initiative of the CHED Commissioner Alex Brillantes and was implemented in coordination with Benguet State University and the Cordillera Administrative Region Association of State Universities and Colleges (CARASUC) and in partnership with the National Economic Development Authority(NEDA) CAR.
Maridel P. Langbis, SPCAR