Alabel is a first class municipality in the province of Sarangani, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of this province. It is largely based on agriculture with a high level production of coconut meat. Other agricultural products includes rice, coffee and barely vegetable.
The economy of Alabel has accelerated in the past decade driven by advances in global communication technology and the finishing of a modern highway that tremendously improved trade and transport. The agro enterprise of Pasali-FARM project in coffee is located in Barangay DatalAnggas. There are 29 Sitios/puroks in this barangay.
The communities of Barangay Datal Anggas are mostly IPs, belonging to Kalaga/Kaulo tribe with around 50% of the population and the remaining 50% are B’laan tribe. Because of their situation and the distance of community from the town proper of Alabel, the area became isolated and the level of education is very low. They also lack knowledge on proper technology especially on coffee production. Most of them are practicing manual hulling of coffee beans. Another problem is theclimate change and since the area is in high elevation, ripening of coffee berry is not on time. The peak harvest in the area is in December to February. The farmers have difficulty in marketing their products in the nearby coffee station or fair traders because of distance and impassable farm to market road. Most of the time, traders from Malita-Davao del Sur and Alabel are going to this community to buy their green coffee beans at a lowest price. In the same way, the peace and order situation is also a problem especially that the activities of the NPA are active in the area.
With the FARM project, the community has appreciated the intervention on moving farmers to modern markets through collective marketing. They were motivated by the experience of other municipalities that was shared to them by Pasali. Also, the exposure visit was done to selected cluster leaders to personally see Nestle buying station and learn the quality check processes.
In the last harvest season, the farmer group attempted to move to a market for the very first time with the facilitation of DA-Alabel and assigned MAEF. They consolidated 5,279 kilos of green coffee beans which is manually dehulled. The community was force to sign a guarantee in behalf of the association to ensure payment that will be paid back to the group. They have targeted to deliver in Nestle, Tagum. Unfortunately, their products were rejected because of the excess in moisture content but with the help of the project, the marketing officer found a contingency buyer in Davao City. The initial test marketing of farmers had gained them more than P20 pesos/kilo margin compared to the traders’ price. According to the cluster, they will again try marketing their product in the next season despite the challenges that they have encountered.
The municipal agriculture office of Alabel is very participative with the project. They have assigned one (1) Agricultural Technologist (DA-AT) for the Pasali-FARM project. The LGU of Alabel and PASALI are closely working together in this project and is a concrete example of public private partnership.
The Datal Anggas small independent group is planning to strengthen their association for sustainability and they are seeking help of Pasali in the facilitation. In conclusion, the 28-month intervention is not enough to come up with a higher goal or impact of the project. In order for the farmers to be on AE step 8 which is on scaling up, long term project should be materialized.