The Inclusive Development Team of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace (CFP) is exploring a partnership with People in Need (PIN) in doing peace and economic development initiatives in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team is composed of community development and social entrepreneurial advocates and practitioners. They also provide training on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. “A partnership between PBCI-CFP IncluDev Team and PIN would be an energizing servant for good in BaSulTa,” says Joji Felicitas Pantoja, President and CEO of Coffee for Peace and a 2020 honoree of the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation. “The two organizations,” adds Ms Joji, “would be able to combine our expertise and resources to help the people create a more sustainable and peaceful future for their Island Provinces within the BARMM.”
The People In Need has been working in BARMM, specifically in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa). The organization’s Leveraging and Expanding Agri-Aqua Production (LEAP) project is expected to help improve the coffee value chains in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
PIN—A Beacon of Hope Since 1992
For nearly three decades, People in Need (PIN) has been a guiding light in troubled regions worldwide. Founded in the Czech Republic in 1992, this international non-governmental organization has dedicated itself to providing aid and championing human rights across the globe. As one of Central Europe’s largest NGOs, PIN has executed countless humanitarian and development projects spanning Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central America.
In 2013, PIN extended its compassionate reach to the Philippines, responding swiftly to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Since then, PIN’s programs in the Philippines have grown and diversified across various sectors, including market systems development, sustainable livelihoods, disaster resilience, renewable energy, peace, and social cohesion.
Catalyzing Economic Development in BARMM
The Leveraging and Expanding Agri-Aqua Production (LEAP) project is a testament to PIN’s commitment to supporting economic development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Crafted in alignment with the European Union’s mandate, LEAP emerged following an exhaustive internal assessment and interviews with diverse stakeholders. LEAP sets forth a clear set of objectives aimed at fortifying the resilience of agri- and aqua-culture value chains, with a particular focus on coffee, seaweed, and their intercropping possibilities.
“The project,” according to Sreedharan Kannan, Project Leader of PIN Philippines, “will achieve these goals through a series of concrete interventions aimed at improving access to inputs, extension services, financial products, and processing facilities. Moreover,” he adds, “LEAP emphasizes the importance of collaboration among stakeholders, with special attention to empowering women, youth, and indigenous communities.”
The market assessment for the coffee value chain in Basilan and Sulu is a crucial component of the LEAP project, with a strong emphasis on inclusivity and empowerment. Here are the primary objectives:
Stakeholder Analysis and Market Dynamics. The project involves the thorough identification and mapping of crucial stakeholders, actors, and institutions engaged in the coffee value chain, including their contact information. Additionally, it recognizes existing service delivery actors and explores opportunities for diversification into other crops within the value chains. To measure project impact, historical data on local coffee production over recent years is being gathered to establish a baseline. Market dynamics, including linkages, trends, demand patterns, and future projections for coffee products over the next five years, are being closely analyzed. Moreover, the project examines the pivotal role played by local and provincial government units in fostering the growth and development of the coffee value chain, while also collecting essential data on the current average income derived from coffee in the target regions.
Coffee Variations, Cultivation, and Production Practices. The assessment encompasses a comprehensive review of the coffee industry in Basilan and Sulu, focusing on various aspects. It involves evaluating the availability and characteristics of different coffee varieties, such as Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and local strains. Additionally, data on coffee tree profiles, cultivation practices, and productivity levels are being collected. The study investigates market segmentation and consumer preferences for these coffee variations, aiming to tailor marketing strategies accordingly. Furthermore, it evaluates production and post-harvest practices, including quality standards, grading procedures, and processing facilities. Lastly, the assessment identifies innovative agricultural practices and provides recommendations for their adoption among local farmers, contributing to improved coffee production in the region.
Involvement of Women, Youth, and Indigenous/Marginalized Groups. This segment of the project is dedicated to inclusivity and empowerment within the coffee value chain. It involves identifying the unique challenges and opportunities faced by women, youth, and indigenous communities in the coffee industry. The assessment also gauges youth engagement in coffee farming and related activities. Furthermore, it explores avenues for indigenous people and marginalized communities to actively participate in the value chain, addressing their specific challenges. Moreover, the analysis delves into the potential for value addition, market diversification, and intercropping, aiming to bring benefits to a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including farmers, youth, women, and indigenous populations, fostering sustainable and inclusive development.
Market Access, Productivity Enhancement, and Value Addition. This component of the project focuses on enhancing the coffee value chain by addressing several critical aspects. It begins with identifying both the constraints and opportunities related to market access, taking into account security concerns in the island provinces. Furthermore, the project analyzes the production capacity of coffee farmers and the constraints they face. It also assesses the potential for value addition, market diversification, and intercropping within the coffee value chain. Moreover, the evaluation delves into the adoption of technology and innovation to improve efficiency, product quality, and market competitiveness. Lastly, it explores existing market linkages and suggests strategies to strengthen these connections, ultimately aiming to reduce intermediaries and empower stakeholders within the coffee industry.
Acknowledging the Power of Communities, One Cup at a Time
The LEAP project and its comprehensive market assessment signify a beacon of hope for the coffee industry in Basilan and Sulu. Through strategic interventions, empowerment of marginalized groups, and a focus on sustainability, this project aims to not only improve coffee production but also uplift the lives of the people who depend on it. With PIN’s dedication and the community’s resilience, the future of coffee in BARMM is brighter than ever.