Universal Robina Corp. buys 10 tons of Robusta coffee from Sulu agrarian reform cooperative
Cotabato City (May 15, 2017) – A Sulu-based agrarian reform cooperative has received a purchase order from Universal Robina Corp. for 10,000 kilograms, or 10 metric tons, of Robusta coffee bean ‘red pick’.
This information was relayed to the Department of Agrarian Reform – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAR-ARMM) by Kumalah ‘Coffee Princess’ Elardo, leader of an agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization in Panamao, Sulu.
Kumalah told DAR-ARMM officials that prior to the placement of the order, Universal Robina’s research group carefully examined the harvest from her group to make sure the Robusta coffee the company would buy is of high quality.
The coffee beans, dubbed Sulu Royal Coffee, are produced by the Kandayok Agrarian Reform Community’s (ARC) People’s Alliance for Progress Multi-purpose Cooperative (PAPMPC), which is based in the town of Panamao. The bulk order will comprise around 70% of the cooperative’s accumulated harvest over four months, Kumalah said.
PAPMPC is also responsible in the production of the Kahawa Sug Royal Coffee made from Robusta coffee beans and Kahawa Kubing Royal Coffee, which is roasted civet coffee. These products have received recognition from the international market, especially in Southeast Asian countries.
The Sulu Royal Coffee has achieved many successes and recognition in the past under the leadership of Kumalah. The cooperative abides by its ‘pick red’, or picked ripe, policy in harvesting as well as other disciplined measures to ensure high quality of its produce.
The growing coffee industry in Panamao, Sulu has been observed to provide opportunity for the community to be productive. “Dati nagkakabayo lang ang mga farmers, ngayon naka motor na sila… semento na rin ang kanilang mga bahay” (In the past, the farmers rely on horses for transport, now they have motorcycles… also, their houses are now concreted), said Kumalah.
Most of the workers and members of the cooperative have left their previous lives carrying arms and are now focused in producing high-quality coffee. Each member of the household in Kandayok ARC is now involved in coffee production, Kumalah said.
PAPMPC and the Kandayok ARC in Sulu are recipients of DAR-ARMM’s Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services, or ARCCESS, project. The community received common service facilities, agri-enterprise development, and rural infrastructure from the regional government through that project.
The development and the reach of PAPMPC coffee products will soon find their way home and inspire more positive changes to the farmers in Sulu and their families. (Bureau of Public Information)
Photo Credit: Echo Sustainable