‘CFP HELPS ACHIEVE U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS,’ SAYS PBSP

Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) cited CoffeeForPeace.Com as one of the inclusive businesses helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Philippines.

We express our gratitude first of all to the Great Creator, as well as to our farming partners, post-harvest processing partners, quality grading partners, packaging and marketing partners, coffee shop operating partners, impact investing partners, and the product consuming-appreciating partners!

Nothing is impossible!

Coffee for Peace has improved the lives of indigenous communities, Muslims and migrant workers through its peacebuilding and economic development activities. By enhancing their coffee-growing practices, local farmers command higher prices for their specialty coffee. The company aims to increase the income of farmers it works with by 300 percent and establish long-lasting livelihood opportunities. These farmers then mentor other farmers and set up local coffee kiosks to raise consumers’ awareness of the unique taste of Philippine coffee, helping communities take pride in local produce. Given the high demand for high-quality coffee globally, Coffee for Peace is planning to scale up its Inclusive Business model to more regions.

New Horizons: How Inclusive Business is Helping Achieve the SDGs in the Philippines (Philippine Business for Social Progress, p. 35)

FINAL BUILDING PLANS AND RELEASE OF FUNDS HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR ‘KAPEYAPAAN’ IN VALENCIA CITY

An architect’s perspective of the building plan that will house the Peace and Reconciliation movement in Eastern Mindanao

In behalf of Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP), I’m happy to report that I have signed the final plans of a small structure to be built in Valencia City. This is made financially possible through an impact partnership with GiversTrust, Inc.

I’m grateful for the release of this fund to start the building construction next week. This building is expected to be completed within six months based on a Memorandum of Agreement between Coffee For Peace, PeaceBuilders Community, GiversTrust, and our architects, Swito Designs.

Architect Gloryrose Dy Metilla, principal at Swito Designs, presents the final building plans to me.

This simple structure will be the home of Kapeyapaan Coffee KioskPeace and Reconciliation (PAR) Movement in Eastern MindanaoKalinaw Youth Movement, and BeyondBorders Christian Community.

Kapeyapaan is a division of Coffee For Peace, Inc. for our low-cost shops yet serving high-quality coffee.

Joji Felicitas Pantoja, CEO
Coffee For Peace, Inc.

BACOFA EXPORTS FIRST BATCH OF GREEN COFFEE TO THE U.S.A.

The representatives of Mount Apo coffee farmers are delivering two tons of their fresh, hand-picked coffee cherries. 20 October 2014. Coffee For Peace Processing Yard, Davao City.

Our Mount Apo farming partners are one of the community-network of well-trained and justly-treated farmers who supply us with their premium 100% arabica coffee paid at fair traded prices.

We’re so happy to see the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BaCoFA) from Mt. Apo grow from being coffee cherry suppliers, to becoming post-harvest coffee processors, and now they have become green coffee bean exporters.

BaCoFA grew from 15 families to 75 farming households in 4 years.

These coffee sacks are their initial export quality products. And they are determined to produce more! These BaCoFA folks are indeed developing into being effective, self-sustaining “farmerpreneurs”.

A NEW PARTNERSHIP BEGINS BETWEEN COFFEE FOR PEACE AND D’ CUP COFFEE REPUBLIC

L-R Donnie Friolo, Dann (Lakan), Adette Purto, myself, Elizabeth Bantican-Quevedo, Ramon Quevedo: The Koinonia Group introduced Coffee for Peace to D’ Cup Coffee Republic. 22 April 2017, D’ Cup Coffee Republic, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

Last 22 April 2017, Elizabeth Bantican-Quevedo — along with her husband Ramon Quevedo and our mutual friend, Donnie Friolo — introduced us to Adette Purto, Chair of D’ Cup Coffee Republic in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila. After exchanging our stories during that initial meeting, I felt Adette has been a long-time friend and sister! The similarities and diversity of our dreams are so complimentary! I felt we, at Coffee for Peace, found a partner and a sister company.

A NOTE FROM D’ CUP COFFEE REPUBLIC

D’ Cup Coffee Republic is a book cafe and events venue in Mandaluyong City inside Pioneer Street  Market. It has a spacious dining area that can comfortably accommodate 80 persons, plus a book lounge area good for 20 persons, and an enclosed function hall good for up to 100 persons, making it a perfect venue for meetings, workshop classes, special gatherings. View our venue and function hall which you can reserve online. We also invite you to visit our site regularly for workshops, classes, and other events. [Facebook Page]

When Elizabeth arranged the meeting between us and Adette’s team, we were simply expecting to sell our coffee brand to this coffee shop. Our presentation was scheduled for only an hour. After our 45-minute story-telling and presentation, she kept asking questions — deep, penetrating questions that went beyond the quality, price, and origin of our coffee. Her questions focused on peace and reconciliation, on the dream about contributing to a God-centered, radical, nonviolent, transformation of our people and our land.

The meeting went beyond two hours.

We didn’t say good bye. We immediately talked about “What’s next?”

Adette and I felt we have been friends for a long time even though this was our first time to meet each other; we’re now sisters-in-vision. 22 April 2017, 1800H-2100H, D’ Cup Coffee Republic, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

Koinonia Group. Elizabeth, Ramon, and Donnie are part of the leadership of the Koinonia Group.  I’m grateful to these faithful friends and partners whom we consider as our long-time community. Koinonia Group started in 1982 when Dann and I were serving as community organizing workers in the City of Olongapo. I was raising our little children and Dann was a young social science teacher at the Columban College. A group of outstanding students became regular visitors in our apartment. Elizabeth was one of them. We soon became a fellowship of followers of Christ working for justice and liberation of our people from the oppressive dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. We referred to our liberation-oriented activist band as Koinonia Group.

Ramon and Elizabeth met in a workplace abroad, got married, and returned to the Philippines to continue their careers, and later started an entrepreneurial endeavor in Metro Manila.

Donnie was Dann’s fellow leader at the Koinonia Group since our days in Olongapo.

We’re now scattered all over the world. But we’re still connected. The long-distance connections grew stronger because of social media. We all update each other of our lives, family development, career development, and respective ministries.

Coffee for Peace’s journey with D’ Cup Coffee Republic. Our relationship with Adette and her team at D’ Cup Coffee Republic has been growing fast. Last 12 May 2017, she and her team visited us in Davao and observed the operation of our coffee processing yard. We also compared notes on the similarities and differences of our respective coffee shops based on our differing contexts.

As I write this blog, both of our teams are talking on how our social businesses can work together to advance Peace Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices together so we can establish at least one PAR community in each of the 81 provinces in this country.

In 12 May 2017, we were visited by our partners from D’ Cup Coffee Republic, led by their Chairperson, Adette Purto. Here, we took some moments to capture their visit to the Coffee for Peace Bistro in Davao: L-R Sihaya, Tala, Elysse, Arlyn, Adette, myself, and Lakan (Dann).

Joji “Lakambini Mapayapa” Pantoja, CEO
Coffee For Peace, Inc.

JOJI PANTOJA, OUR CEO, HAS BEEN AWARDED AS ONE OF THE ‘2017 INSPIRING FILIPINA ENTREPRENEURS’

L-R: Ramon M. Lopez, (Secretary of Trade and Industry), Salvador Medialdea (Executive Secretary, Office of the Presidernt), His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte (President of the Republic of the Philippines), Joji Felicitas Pantoja (Coffee for Peace), and L. Daniel Pantoja (PeaceBuilders Community) — during the awarding ceremony of Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. 30 March 2017, Malacanang Palace.

We’re inspired by the life and work of Joji Pantoja, our CEO at Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP) and our Ina (a term of respect for ‘mother’) at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI).

The partnership between CFP and PBCI in advocating Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices was once again affirmed last 30 March 2017 when Ina received an award from the President of the Philippines as one of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. The awarding ceremony happened at the Malacañang Palace. There were 26 women throughout the Philippines who received similar awards for their “capacity to be catalysts for change and progress.” Ina was one of the two in the ‘social business’ category.

Joji Pantoja, our Ina, poses with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte after the awarding ceremonies.

According to the brochure published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship, this annual tradition aims to recognize women and their capacity to be catalysts for change and progress. The qualifications are:

  1. May or may not have come from humble beginnings;
  2. A Filipino who embodies the following traits: passionate, positive, and panalo (‘can do’) attitude;
  3. Must have an innovative business model (products/processes);
  4. Must show the ability to genuinely care for the community and stakeholders and must have the potential to share time and talent to help spread the entrepreneurship advocacy;
  5. Must be well-respected by their peers.

The statement in Ina’s Certificate of Recognition reflects the above qualifications:

“For engendering peace through the innovative use of coffee as source of livelihood, community-building and conflict reduction. Her unwavering commitment to improving the plight of farmers and establishing peacebuilding mechanisms in conflicted areas of Mindanao through her business Coffee for Peace has brought inclusive growth to the region.

The award is given to Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs who emulate the modern-day successful Filipina with an enterprising attitude, passion beyond measure, an innovative outlook on doing business, and heart for contributing to the inclusive growth of our nation.”

This story was published in a national newspaper from the perspective of Mindanao.

COFFEE FARMERS FROM SOUTHERN MINDANAO VISITED CFP PROCESSING YARD

Thirty-four (34) coffee farmers from the municipality of Maasim, Sarangani Province, and from the municipalities of Kalamansig and Lebak, Sultan Kudarat Province visited our processing yard and bistro in Davao City.

Joji Felicitas Bautista Pantoja, CEO of Coffee For Peace, Inc., gave the farmers a half-day overview on coffee planting, post-harvest processing, quality grading, packaging, and marketing. We hope to continue this engagement with these farmers until a mutual initiative for long-term partnership between us is developed.

They were brought here by Pasali Philippines Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization from General Santos City. This is part of their project called “Reducing Rural Poverty through AgroEntrepreneurship,” in partnership with PinoyMe Foundation.

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH KALINGA PEOPLE AND LEADERS GETS DEEPER

Lakan Sumulong, our CFP StoryTeller, visited our friends and partners in Kalinga last 28 January – 02 February 2017. He renewed and strengthened our relationship —

  • With the Alngag clan where Tala, one of our inclusive development mentors, belong. We’re especially grateful for Malou Alngag who shared her vision and enthusiasm to advance peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices in Kalinga through her professional skills and expertise in the field of Public Administration.
  • With Aiza, our field worker in Kalinga; it was great to get to know her family and tribe through our StoryTeller — especially his father, Gilbert Baluyan — in Barangay Talalang, Balbalan, Upper Kalinga.
  • With the local religious and spiritual leaders there and the precious time of conversations to deepen our understanding of their worldview, value system, and customary laws.

  • With the leadership of the the Cordillera People’s Liberatìon Army (direct core group of the late Father Conrado Balweg), especially for the generous hospitality of Ma’am Chupan Chulsi, their Chief of Staff.
  • With Johnny Sawadan, a former deputy general secretary of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and who is now volunteering to help establish PAR communities in the Cordillera Region.
  • With the local government officials, for giving us the chance to formally present the inclusive development consulting services of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. and the economic-ecological transformation initiatives of Coffee For Peace Inc.

CFP DEMONSTRATED Q-GRADING BEFORE COFFEE INDUSTRY FOLKS AND MEDIA REPORTERS

Byron Bee Pantoja, our Production Manager and Q-Grader, showed how quality grading was done before the coffee industry leaders and media representatives in Davao City.  This event was featured in a news article about the President of the Philippines declaring to sign an Executive Order to launch Philippine coffee brand.

The said article quoted Byron:

Daniel Byron Pantoja, one of the Q graders said that with the growing awareness of the public to specialty coffee, he sees people getting inspired with the Filipino farmers who now begin to grow quality coffee that could compete with international brands.

“It’s a domino effect,” he stressed as he said other farmers are now encouraged to grow specialty coffee.

This is part of an on-going quality enhancement program of Coffee For Peace that started in 2008. At CFP, we cheer-up one another by shouting a borrowed term from the Japanese: Kaizen!

Joji Pantoja, our President and CEO, affirms Byron’s public representation of CFP. In a text message, she said:

A paradigm shift is needed on how Filipinos appreciate good coffee: our farmers must be willing to accept quality processing methods; and, our consumers must be educated and must be exposed to the various tastes of good coffee.

Let us continue to promote peace as we drink our own Philippine grown and processed coffee.

Indeed, peace is the prime product of CFP, and world-class quality coffee is its vehicle.

BYRON PANTOJA PASSES CQI’S ARABICA QUALITY GRADER CERTIFICATION

Byron Bee Pantoja, our Production Manager, passed the examinations as a Certified Quality Arabica Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

According to the CQI website:

An Arabica Q Grader is an individual who is credentialed by the CQI to grade and score coffees utilizing standards developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).

Currently, there are no formal requirements to enroll. However, the Q Grader Exam is not a course for inexperienced or new cuppers; it is an advanced level course. It is highly recommended that you practice your skills by signing up for SCAA Skill Building Workshops offered throughout the year, including SCAA events.

The course for becoming a Q Arabica Grader prepares participants for the 22 tests they must pass to become a certified Q Grader. The tests relate to an individual’s ability to accurately and consistently cup and grade coffee according to SCAA cupping and grading standards and protocols, including a thorough understanding of the SCAA cupping form.

A student who passes these 22 tests is given a professional license as a Q Grader. This license must be renewed every 3 years by attending a Q Grader calibration to ensure the Q Grader is up-to-date.

Coffee For Peace also congratulates the four candidates from among Byron’s batch who also passed this exam.

The Mindanao Daily Mirror featured Byron’s story in their December 27, 2016 issue:

Some coffee growers and processors from Davao City were promoted as Q graders and cuppers.

Department of Trade and Industry-Compostela Valley (DTI-ComVal) Provincial Director Lucky Siegfried Balleque in an interview said of the 15 coffee growers who attended the training held at the Equilibrium Laboratory in Dacudao St. from December 12 to 17, only four growers and processors from Davao passed.

Balleque named Byron Bee Pantoja of Coffee for Peace as among the four coffee growers who are now certified Q Graders.  He said  Pantoja passed the examinations as a Certified Quality Arabica Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).  He however did not name the other three Q graders.

“If you want to know what grade your coffee is they can cup and grade them for you now,” Balleque said.

CFP-PBCI COMMUNITY GETS TO ENJOY BISTRO BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE

The staff of PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace had our regular Monday morning worship and reflection time at the Coffee For Peace Bistro. Afterwards, they were given a treat to experience being valued clients by the CFP Bistro serving partners and barista partners.

The other staff members who were doing urgent errands and other baristas who were on duty at the CFP Shop (the original coffee shop) will be scheduled as guests this afternoon after their duties.

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