By Erwin M. Mascarinas
Department of Agriculture (DA) in Caraga Region is now eyeing for an increase and better production of high quality coffee after 1st Caraga Cupping Competition was held and showcased top grade Robusta coffee on Sep. 6 here in Butuan City.
“We just recently culminated our 1st Caraga Cupping Competition, a convergence event together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) dubbed as regional coffee appreciation event,” said DA-Caraga coordinator for high value crops development program Marco Antonio Morido.
He said the result of the event was amazing as they have seen the rise of coffee growers with high quality Robusta coffee in the region.
Local coffee farmers from Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte, the Casiklan Wheels Farmers Association, Inc. (CAWFAI) won Caraga’s first cupping competition and got the Robusta coffee grading of 82.16, according to Morido.
Morido pointed out that with the competition, coffee farmers are now pushed to be inspired and encouraged in producing more high quality coffee not only in Caraga region but for a bigger market reaching out to other parts of the country and abroad.
CAWFAI coffee growers with 293 members came on top from among 25 coffee growing associations and cooperatives from different parts of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.
Tagbina Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries from Surigao del Sur took the 2nd place while San Jose Maasin Coffee Farmers Association (SAMACOFA) from Agusan del Sur took the 3rd place in the competition.
Teodoro Chavez Pasquito, 57, a farmer from Barangay Casiklan in Las Nieves and vice president of CAWFAI expressed that winning the event is a boost for their association of coffee farmers.
“We did not expect to win in the first competition here in Caraga Region, however this is a great sign and an inspiration for us to push and produce better quality coffee,” said Pasquito.
“Our hard work paid off, the seminars and trainings on post-harvest processing as well as making sure that we are doing the process based on industry standards has been a key factor,” he said.
Pasquito said although the coffee industry in Caraga Region while constantly growing is still small compared to other regions.
“They now have seen that our coffee can compete and get acknowledge on the national level as it gains high marks and rating in the national cupping competitions,” he said.
“Our Robusta coffee industry if properly managed can be as competitive to the other South East Asian region like in Vietnam or Thailand, and with what we have seen, it’s going to be a booming industry,” said Jame Autor of Gold ‘n’ Pearl Bakery and Café.