The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., through the One To Tree (RAFI OTT) program, is set to enhance its coffee-based agroforestry and create environmental, economic and social benefits for its partner local smallholder farmers.
RAFI OTT signed a memorandum of understanding with Farm to Cup PH, an organization committed to supporting and empowering local organizations, farmers, and growers through its different interventions on promoting coffee-based agroforestry systems to increase production of the coffee industry.
According to the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap of 2022 – 2025, “coffee has been an agricultural commodity spanning four centuries of production in the Philippines.” The Philippines is one of the few countries that grows four varieties of coffee, particularly Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Domestic consumption of coffee from 2009 to 2019 has increased, reports the International Coffee Organization. Yet, despite the positive impact coffee bears, the Philippines is only 15% self-sufficient in coffee, the roadmap highlights.
By partnering with Farm to Cup PH, RAFI OTT aims to unlock the economic potential of coffee among their local smallholder farmers. The partnership will develop a framework for collaboration between the two parties and provide sustainable livelihood and capability-building support for local farmers in areas where RAFI OTT operates.
The partnership intends to engage and work with local communities to become tree growing partners, providing technical and capability-building support particularly to farmers adopting coffee agroforestry systems for sustainable livelihood. Partner farmers will receive technical assistance, including coffee education, certification, and support for coffee processing, direct marketing and linkages to local and international partners.
“Our goal is to be able to ensure the sustainability of our tree growing partners. We have been successful in achieving the survival of the trees we have planted and planting trees that are suitable for our communities. These are not just native trees but also fruit-bearing trees to support the economic needs of our partner farmers. Our desire in RAFI OTT is to elevate the lives of our partner farmers and their communities. Through this partnership, we can promote coffee agroforestry systems and ensure that the trees planted will be productive and provide economic benefits to our farmers,” said RAFI OTT Program Director Anthony Dignadice.
From 2019 to 2022, RAFI OTT has planted 165,287 coffee seedlings across 70 planting sites in the Province of Cebu and planted 120,738 cacao seedlings across 207 planting sites in the Province of Cebu.
“There is a great potential here to support our farmers. We look forward to providing the appropriate support in terms of capacity building, nurturing their trees, and adapting an agroforestry system, not only for coffee but also for cacao trees. The potential for the market is very huge and we look forward to seeing our partner farmers benefit from this partnership,” added Dignadice.
The partnership with Farm to Cup PH will include a site assessment of RAFI OTT coffee and cacao planting sites, knowledge exchange and technical assistance, planning and development of the project framework, resource mobilization, and marketing and communications of the project and other co-branding opportunities.