Nomoh in Maasim Sarangani province is an upland area dominated by indigenous T’boli group. It is the only coffee area in Maasim. The road is passable by motorcycles and vehicles provided it is a 4 Wheel Drive for uphill terrains. Only two Puroks in Nomoh has access to electricity while the rest are remote areas. The centro can be reached in 15-20 minutes motorcycle ride but the coffee farm is far from the center of the community. Farmers in the area don’t depend on Coffee only but also in Abaka, Copra and corn production. Being the only coffee area in Maasim, the local Department of Agriculture (DA) actively implements projects specially in the production aspect but last year when the FARM project started, farmers are assisted in marketing. The FARM project clustered a total of 150 coffee farmers in two sitios/ villages ( 100 farmers in Sitio Macnit and 50 in Sitio Malaklong)
The selling of fresh coffee berries is the trend in the area since no drying facility is available. A plenty of agents go up to the area to buy their fresh coffee produce at extremely low price of 15-16 pesos per “gantang” which is equivalent to 2 Kilos. These agents do the drying of the beans for the trader. Some agents cunningly bring canned goods, rice, fish and bread to trade for coffee beans. This is why coffee farmers have a debt even when their coffees are not harvested yet. If a farmer incurs debt on a trader, he is obliged to sell his coffee berries to the trader. Therefore, farmers are subject to the price of the latter. This is when the cycle of debt starts and what the FARM project is trying to minimize, if not break in order to sell to institutional buyers with far better prices. At first, only 2 farmers gave green coffee beans for a mini test-delivery to Nestle’. They were hesitant at first, thinking they might not pass the quality standards. It resulted to a grade 2 quality ( for the first time!) and they realized they can achieve Nestle’s standard. After that, more farmers joined. As of February 2013, they have perfected grade 1 quality for the third time already after the very first mini test-marketing. Also, only last March 2013 as a result of our clustering efforts, 50 farmers in Sitio Malaklong registered themselves in DOLE as Holik Farmers Association.
As a result of successful deliveries to Nestle’, Pasali assisted these two associations to access to financing from KPS-SEED, Inc. Last September, Maasim Coffee Growers Association, accessed a loan amounting to Php 200,000. This October, the newly formed association Holik Farmers Association, with 50 members, also accessed a loan worth Php 262,500 for their member’s weeding & harvesting expenses, since these two labor costs are the main reason why they have to borrow from local traders. Also, with the accessing of marketing fund, the groups now engage in buying of coffee from non- member for additional income.
As an immediate result, the members don't have to borrow anymore from local traders and therefore, more farmers can join a collective marketing to Nestle' this harvest season. Many times, farmers utterly express their gratitude to us who facilitated them and promised to work harder to have a good track record in KPS-SEED,Inc. so that they can borrow bigger amount in the next round.