‘Pick red’ farm group in ARMM gets coffee purchase order from URC

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DAVAO CITY—A coffee growers’ cooperative known for the “pick red” or “pick ripe” harvest policy got a surprise purchase order from one of the country’s big food-processing corporations.

The Kandayok Agrarian Reform Community’s (ARC) People’s Alliance for Progress Multipurpose Cooperative (PAPMPC) reported to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao about the purchase order placed by Universal Robina Corp., for 10 tons of its Robusta coffee produce.

The Department of Agrarian Reform-ARMM said the growers’ leader, Kumalah “Coffee Princess” Elardo, informed the agency about the transaction for 10,000 kilograms, or 10 metric tons, of Robusta coffee bean “red pick”.

The growers’ cooperative, an agrarian-reform beneficiaries’ organization, is based 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 cooperative produces the Sulu Royal Coffee ordered by URC. The bulk order is 70 percent of the cooperative’s accumulated harvest over four months, Kumalah said.

The PAPMPC also produces the Kahawa Sug Royal Coffee, also made from Robusta coffee beans, and the Kahawa Kubing Royal Coffee, a roasted civet coffee.

“These products have received recognition from the international market, especially in Southeast Asian countries,” the DAR-ARMM said.

The Sulu Royal Coffee has similarly achieved many successes and recognition in the past, and was ascribed to the cooperative’s observance of “pick red” or “picked ripe” policy in harvesting.

The growing coffee industry in Panamao, Sulu, has provided an opportunity for residents to be productive and to keep them away from the influence of the terror group operating in the island province.

“In the past, the farmers relied on horses for transport. Now, they have motorcycles. Their houses are also now made of concrete,” Kumalah said.

Kumalah said many workers and members of the cooperative “have left their previous lives carrying arms and are now focused on producing high-quality coffee. Each member of the household in Kandayok ARC is now involved in coffee production.”

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.

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