MIRO is a Hiligaynon term for the Asian Palm Civet which dwells in the fertile mountains of Sitio Nagpana, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo and feeds on wild berries, coffee cherries and pulpy fruits.
Miro led to the birth of the abundant coffee farm of Nagpana Minority Association (NAMIAS) an organization of the Ati community of Sitio Nagpana in Barangay Lipata, 12 kilometers from the Poblacion of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.
The sitio covers 938 hectares of fertile forest land where 21% of the area is for its watershed and 5% is for housing and its primary school.
The community is rich in natural resources with coffee production as the major source of income of the people. The coffee plantation is up in the mountains and is under the custody of the men of the community.
The women are into weaving. Using nito vine, they make baskets, bags, coin purses, leis, coasters, placemats, bracelets and other fashion accessories marketed in trade fairs or sold to tourists visiting their community.
The Nagpana Atis handpick and roast coffee cherries to perfection to give that aromatic blend of robusta coffee beans.
Every last quarter of the year, ripe coffee cherries are manually picked, processed, dried, dehulled, packed and sold to buyers in Iloilo City. The processed dried coffee bean or “green coffee” were sold to a multinational company and local market restaurants.
However, due to improper harvest and postharvest practices, their produce was always found to be of low grade consequently lowering its value.
In pursuit of harmonizing technology in the community, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) provided technological interventions such as label design, coffee roaster, weighing scale, grinder, moisture analyzer and stainless-steel table. These equipment paved the way to high quality coffee beans best for brewing.
Apart from the interventions, the coffee production is supported by Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. and Tinukib Foundation.
Through the initiative and encouragement of Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. (TSKI), a non-government organization, the community saw the potential of having to earn more by selling roasted coffee.
In January 13, 2013, the coffee processing facility began its establishment with technical assistance from DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and acquisition of process equipment funded under DOST VI’s Grant-in-Aid (GIA) Program.
The processing center was constructed under the support from the TEAR Fund New Zealand and TSKI.
In November 2013, the community never thought that all their hard work in establishing a community roasted coffee processing center will be destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Tons of coffee cherries ready for picking, along with most of their houses, tribal hall and tourist pavilion were either totally or heavily damaged.
Sadly, the project took a backseat as the community tried to pick up the pieces to restore everything back to their normal lives. Recovery took some time, but with help from the government and non-government organizations, they were able to slowly rebuild their houses and rehabilitate their agricultural lands. The IP community started regaining normalcy and found new strength to continue with the project a year after the catastrophic event.
A new processing facility was constructed mid of 2015 through the help of TSKI, TEARFund New Zealand, LGU-Barotac Viejo and the Department of Labor and Employment. From then on, commercial operation gradually started as harvest of cherries become substantial.
Roasted coffee products with brand name “Kape Miro,” are sold through Tinukib Café and Souvenirs, the selling arm of TSKI located in Jaro, Iloilo City. Seeing the positive attitude of the community and the growing popularity of the product, the project was again supported under DOST’s CEST Program in October 2017. TSKI is the project implementer and NAMIAS as the recipient.
The TSKI and community leaders used Participatory Rapid Rural Appraisal (PRRA) Survey in the conduct of Organizing Community for Planning (OCP) where PRRA Forms that include household data were produced as an output.
At present, TSKI and NAMIAS officers are conducting trainings, coaching sessions, and follow-ups as regards economic development and productivity specifically entrepreneurial management trainings, sustainable production, market development and access financial capital or resources.
Varieties of assistance were provided under the project. The manpower understanding and skills were also further advanced through science and technology. The community also tapped relevant organizations to teach them how to ensure good quality beans through trainings on proper harvesting, drying and storage.
For a resilient community enterprise, a business continuity plan was crafted. This is to ensure that the business will continue even after assistance from TSKI and DOST.
EDUCATION AND LITERACY
To spur interest among the indiegenous people’s (IP) children in pursuing a career in Science and Technology, STARBOOKS was deployed last July 4, 2018 in the community at the Nagpana Primary School. The school had classes for Grades 1 to 6 with approximately 200 enrolled pupils.
The project provided for the computer to contain STARBOOKS and training was conducted for the teachers who will use it to facilitate learning of their pupils. It was also agreed that the school will make it available for use of any interested individuals from the community.
DOST Scholarship has also benefited the community with six (6) new passers and four (4) on going college scholars taking up S&T courses.
Kape Miro roasted coffee comes in two forms – ground and whole beans. The brand is slowly gaining popularity as the IP association aggressively takes every opportunity to promote their product.
They are actively joining trade fairs, local markets and strive to consistently supply the requirement of Tinukib Café and Souvenirs. With its improved packaging and quality, the product is very competitive in the market.
Sets of equipment were provided by DOST-6 in 2018 to help the company’s operation improve. These include coffee depulper, dehuller, coffee roasting machine with cooling table, coffee grinder, washing sink, drying rack, personal computer and a generator set. These sets of equipment were fully operated during the last quarter, doubling its production volume in the same year with 2.4 tons as compared to 1.2 tons in 2017.
IP workers also gained skills in operating the equipment. With stable power supply and sound business management, sales are expected to increase dramatically this coming year. This is very possible because they now have the technological capacity to fulfill the requirement of their growing market.
The promising result of the project creates a sense of pride and new-found confidence among the people of the community. They are now actively joining public trainings and fora, not only for growing technical competence but also to strengthen network and possibly open new markets.
In terms of disaster preparedness, the NAMIAS took the initiative of tapping the Bureau of Fire Protection in the conduct of fire drills. Aside from this, the community has also sufficient supply of potable water which sustain the needs of the residents.
The livelihood of the community has sustained the nutrition requirement among the residents, thus the DOST VI focused on the other major components of the CEST Program.
The path towards a successful community enterprise may not be any easier for them as with the others, but with support from their partners and their strong personal resolve they can thrive to make it all work. All for a better life and a brighter future for their children. (DOST-6/J.R.A. Gabiota)