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       The first academe-based coffee cupping laboratory in Mindanao was inaugurated in Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) last June 27, 2017 with its private partner Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA). SPAMAST’s Research, Development and Extension Office through Dr. Augie Fuentes, RDE Director and the project leader, and all RDE staff organized the said launching and at the same time the blessing of the coffee cupping laboratory constructed by SPAMAST. It was attended by DTI-Compostela Valley Provincial Director Lucky Siegfred Balleque, DTI Davao del Sur heads and staff, personnels of ACDIVOCA, heads and members of the Coffee for Peace Organization, and some representatives from Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association. SPAMAST RDE office got this partnership as an offshoot of the first MOA signed by SPAMAST President Generalao and Mr. Thelonious Trimmell for ACDI/VOCA last February 3, 2017 about the collaboration in coffee research and extension, training, coffee propagation through coffee nursery in agroforestry development in Kapatagan, Digos City. The total project cost reached PHP1,713,056 — PHP467,961 for the equipment and cupping lab apparatus and PHP1,245,095 for the building. The cost for the equipment is a grant from ACDI/VOCA, while SPAMAST shouldered the construction of the facility. The said partnership aimed at helping the local coffee farmers and growers in knowing the right market price value of their full-grown coffee beans as it has been a problem of coffee folks to be cheated in the market. DTI Comval Director Balleque said, “After farmers know the grade of their coffee beans, then, the department will help in the market of these coffee products so that coffee growers become entrepreneurs in the profit chain from “seedling to brewed coffee cup”. This was part of SPAMAST’s strategy towards the realization of its mission to extend help in the community, community-service was the center of this partnership. Meantime, SPAMAST head Dr. Irvin Generalao emphasized on the importance of science and technology in the success of any business endeavor. “Why did Ben Lao become successful in his coco sugar business? It is because of science and technology,” he said, adding that S & T, together with research and development, have been improving lives. Ben Lao is one of the region’s biggest coco sugar exporters. Ms. Arlyn Omboy and Mr. Regie Patagoc were the faculty trained as coffee quality graders. - Ma. Regina E. Robante Coffee Cupping Laboratory Objective: The coffee cupping laboratory aims to provide and assess the quality of coffee bean harvest in the coffee growing areas of Davao del Sur and the adjacent provinces of Davao Occidental, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in accordance with the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) standard. Specifically, it aims to achieve: 1. The increase in the capability of coffee growers in terms of good agricultural practices on production and post-harvest coffee; 2. The establishment of on-site production and post-harvest protocols on coffee; and 3. To assist coffee growers on the marketing aspects of coffee. Expected outputs 1. One operational coffee cupping laboratory manned by knowledgeable and skilled coffee quality graders; 2. Increase awareness to coffee growing population/farmers, processors and consumers on the importance of coffee cupping laboratories in relation to high quality coffee harvest; and 3.Developed knowledgeable and skilled coffee growers, processors, and consumers. “Good ideas start with brainstorming. Great ideas start with Coffee in SPAMAST’s Coffee Cupping Laboratory.”

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