Mindanao towns get int’l certification for sustainable coffee production
(The Philippine Star) - June 23, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Four towns in Mindanao were recently awarded international certificates for sustainable coffee production by the 4C (Common Code for the Coffee Community) Association. The coffee towns of Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Kalamansig, and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat, and the town of Tagbina in Surigao del Norte are now part of the  more than 150 coffee-producing groups in the world whose coffee has been verified to have been produced, processed and traded based on the 4C association’s sustainability criteria. The 4C licenses for these areas were confirmed last May 24, 2012 by the 4C Association.

The 4C Association is an open multi-stakeholder membership organization that aims to bring sustainable agricultural practices into the mainstream coffee production process.

It currently has 255 members around the globe, including big and small coffee farmers, traders, industry players and civil society groups.

Only producers who have been verified as compliant with the baseline sustainability standards set by the association are given the C certificate and licensed to sell 4C compliant coffee. These standards cover a mix of environmental, social and economic considerations that producers have to comply with.

According to Edith de Leon, corporate affairs head of Nestlé Philippines, Inc., sustainability in production and consumption has long been the thrust of Nestlé.

At the core of this thrust is the belief that long-term success can only come from creating shared value among all its stakeholders, most especially among farmers.

“The 4C certification of these Mindanao communities is yet another milestone in the journey towards sustainability, which we hope will help grow the local coffee industry and improve our long-term supply of coffee,” de Leon said, adding that pressing issues that challenge the coffee sector, such as food security and decreasing land resources, make this initiative all the more important in ensuring the continued growth of the industry.

A long-time member of the association, Nestlé hopes to encourage more farming communities in the Philippines to follow the sustainability standards set by the 4C.

Assisting towards this end, Nestlé is already facilitating access to 4C manuals, handbooks and other materials containing information, tools and training towards good agricultural and management practices.

The company is also providing training to farmers, equipping them with the best available technologies and techniques not only to increase their harvest per hectare, but also improve the quality of their coffee.

According to Nestlé agronomist Vincent Magat, the company recently launched an initiative that tested and treated the water sources of the barangays within these towns for E. Coli.

The company also provided farmers advice on fertilizers suited to their respective areas, gave out compost and personal protective equipment and conducted seminars such as basic recordkeeping and solid waste management.

With the 4C certification comes the 4C incentive designed to benefit farmers with 4C certificates. Under the program, the farmers of Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Kalamansig, Lebak, and Tagbina can now earn additional monetary incentives for being 4C compliant.

De Leon said Nestle’ is looking beyond the incentives and tools that farmers would receive for having 4C compliant coffee. “Producing coffee in a sustainable manner will, in the medium to long term, help thousands of small coffee farmers by reducing production costs, providing sustainable income, increasing supply of high-quality coffee beans, and maintaining a lot of jobs in the rural areas.”

For information on 4C, visit www.nescafe.com.ph




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