The Office of Deputy Minority Floor Leader, MP Rasol Y. Mitmug, Jr., in partnership with the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism, conducted a site visit to the Malibacao Agricultural Cooperative in South Upi, Maguindanao last February 18, 2022.
MTIT conducted the site visit to verify the area for the construction of a Coffee Processing Center, a program availed by the Office of MP Mitmug under the 2021 Transitional Development Impact Fund.
The P3.4-M center will help boost the quality and production of coffee products in Upi, Maguindanao and neighboring areas. The soon to be established processing center with equipment will also serve as learning site for coffee farmers to sustain their farming from planting, growing, harvesting, processing, fermenting, drying, sorting, roasting and quality control.
Mr. Estanislao Gepte, Head of the Board of Directors of Malibacao Cooperative and project coordinator of North Star Upi Coffee Project, together with Mr. Rizalex M. Favila, Coffee Master and Chairman of Malibacao Cooperative, led the MTIT team and staff of MP Mitmug around the farm, showing the nursery and coffee bean plantation and explaining the harvesting process.
Ms. Amina S. Karon-Mendez, Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist at MTIT, oriented the officers of the 130-member cooperative regarding the requirements needed to push through with the project. “Pangarap namin na kayo ang maging model. Simulan natin sa processing center, pag nahasa na kayo especially mga kababaihan at kabataan, kayo naman ang magbibigay ng training sa iba, kayo na ang magiging expert sa coffee production,” said Mendez.
Malibacao Cooperative, located in a sprawling 40-hectare farm, processes the coffee seeds to premium quality coffee beans in partnership with North Star Upi Coffee, which was awarded 2nd place [Gourmet Agent” (Silver) award] in the “Puissant Doux” category of the 6th Coffees Roasted at Origin International Contest held in Paris 2020. The coffee farmers use a mix of Liberica and Robusta beans which is popular in the locality.
MP Mitmug, an advocate for local coffee production, has long supported native coffee products from Sulu and South Upi, Maguindanao both of which are primary coffee-producing areas in the Bangsamoro region.