In a baseline study, it was found out that women have more brain cells dedicated to smelling and tasting, hence to capture the interest of women in their participation to coffee production, the GAD Program of DA-RFO I in cooperation with the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI), organized a seminar entitled “Integrating Women in Coffee Production and Processing” at Hotelinda Suites, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur on September 3-4, 2018.
Women are highly visible in fieldwork, harvesting, sorting, drying, and processing – the labor-intensive work required to produce coffee. However, despite of their key role in coffee production, women were given less access to resources, trainings and other capability building that would improve their yield and quality of their crops, thus this activity also aims to empower women on their unique roles in the coffee industry. With its increasing demand, it provides high opportunity for coffee growers and stakeholders to improve their way of living.
According to some, coffee is more than a beverage, it is one of the most popular liquid in the world. Hence, providing more information about coffee, Ms. Chit Juan, President of the PCBI, introduced quality coffee to the participants. She said that "coffee is not just a coffee, it comes with different grades". Her colleague Ms. Ros Juan also introduced the potential markets for farmers and stakeholders because buyers do not see coffee as a commodity rather a specialty item.
As the main highlight of the activity, Ms. Jen Rimando and Ms. Bea Belardo, both coffee experts led the technical session on coffee processing and cupping. During the cupping session, the participants were given the chance to taste three varieties of coffee from various coffee growing areas in the Philippines to check its quality.
Aside from the discussions on coffee, the two-day event ended with a tour by the participants at the San Juan Research Center and BJMP Ilocos Sur to obtain information about farming and animal husbandry that they could also use and apply.