Connecting farmer organizations to their target markets is one of the aims of the project Reducing Rural Poverty through Agroentrepreneurship. In answer to this, last March 2, 2017 thirty six (36) coffee farmers, coming from four farmer associations from Maasim, Sarangani Province, and Kalamansig and Lebak, Sultan Kudarat , participated in an exposure visit at Nestle’s buying station at Tagum City. The objective of the visit was to let the farmers, 90% of which has never been to the buying station, experience and see how coffee buying is implemented.
Throughout the previous two years of the project, and in the other past programs of Pasali Philippines, collective marketing to Nestle Tagum has been one of the target major activities. Given this, only a handful gets to see for themselves the actual process during collective marketing. Most are left asking how transactions are made within the buying station. Some hearsay would even float that the station is too strict on its quality control and the possibility of green coffee beans being rejected is bigger than being accepted. Also, farmers think that delivering to Nestle requires huge volumes and that they will never be prioritized especially since arriving at the station, they see all the traders lining up with their truckloads of coffee beans. Farmers, in some way, have hesitations in venturing out and linking with an established institution like Nestle.
With this in mind Pasali arranged an exposure to the said buying station. Fortunately Nestle responded. They were supposed to be closed during the scheduled date but since Nestle itself is trying to reach farmers, especially farmer associations, the buying station was opened during the visit.
The activity was facilitated by the buying officer, Mr. Benedict Ella. He demonstrated the processes that the delivered green coffee beans undergo to determine its grade. He encouraged the farmers to collectively market and to never hesitate to approach him. It was stressed during the visit that farmers are going to be prioritized nevertheless of the volume or coffee grade of their delivery. Quality product must always be the aim of every farmer but if ever the volume delivered does not pass the established quality test there is always a way to fix it and the delivery given another chance.
With this the farmer participants were introduced to Nestle’s buying culture. The learning they have gathered during that day was encouraged to be spread to all other members of their association.
"Reducing rural poverty through Agroentrepreneurship" is a scale-up intervention among coffee flagship groups of the former FARM Project.