by Nonoy Lacson
Zamboanga City – Sulu Royal Coffee, an agrarian reform cooperative engaged in producing high quality coffee beans, has received a purchase order from Universal Robina Corp. for 10,000 kilograms, or 10 metric tons, of Robusta coffee bean ‘red pick’.
This information was relayed to the Department of Agrarian Reform – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAR-ARMM) by Kumalah ‘Coffee Princess’ Elardo, leader of an agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization in Panamao, Sulu.
Kumalah told DAR-ARMM officials that prior to the placement of the order, Universal Robina’s research group carefully examined the harvest from her group to make sure the Robusta coffee the company would buy is of high quality.
The Sulu Royal Coffee beans are produced by the Kandayok Agrarian Reform Community’s (ARC) People’s Alliance for Progress Multi-purpose Cooperative (PAPMPC), which is based in the town of Panamao.
The bulk order will represents around 70 percent of the cooperative’s accumulated harvest over four months, Kumalah said.
Also under the wings of PAPMPC are Kahawa Sug Royal Coffee, which also produces Robusta, and Kahawa Kubing Royal Coffee, which is roasted civet coffee.
These products have received recognition from the international market, especially in Southeast Asian countries.
The Sulu Royal Coffee has received recognitions in the past under the leadership of Kumalah. The cooperative abides by its ‘pick red’, or picked ripe, policy in harvesting as well as other disciplined measures to ensure high quality of its produce.
The growing coffee industry in Panamao, Sulu has been observed to provide opportunity for the community to be productive.
“Dati nagkakabayo lang ang mga farmers, ngayon naka motor na sila… semento na rin ang kanilang mga bahay” (In the past, the farmers rely on horses for transport, now they have motorcycles… also, their houses are now concreted), said Kumalah.