Young leader boosts competitiveness of farmer’s group
Because of its vibrant coffee industry, Sultan Kudarat is dubbed as the “Robusta Capital of the Philippines.” While coffee farming in the province is powered by farmers who have been planting coffee trees for decades, a new generation of coffee growers are emerging to take the reins. One of them is the leader of an association fueling the growth in the value chain of one of the province’s coffee-producing towns.
Elmor Jay Seguma, 31, is the general manager of the Keytodac Coffee Growers Association (KCGA), a people’s organization of 105 coffee farmers located in the town of Lebak in Sultan Kudarat. Engaged in coffee consolidation and trading, the eight-year-old organization has faced challenges in business operations and financial management.
When Elmor was offered the position, he immediately accepted, as he knew he could contribute to KCGA’s growth with his learnings and experience. A graduate of marketing management in General Santos City, Elmor helped fix its internal control and governance issues, while managing day-to-day operations.
“At that time, the association was having problems because of unclear business strategy and lack of plans. With the help of the trainings and seminars conducted by institutions supporting us, we were able to address the lingering problems in our organization,” he said.
Elmor and KCGA linked up with several organizations to help improve the production, consolidation, and marketing operations of the enterprise. KCGA’s officers were trained in business planning and management, particularly in operations review, supply assessment, credit management, accounting and bookkeeping.
With the support from Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), KCGA was able to secure working capital for coffee trading, additional loans for building of its post-harvest facilities, and capacity building.
“PEF really helped us through trainings and seminars, which personally helped me efficiently manage the association,” Elmor said.
The local government, line agencies, and development organizations have also provided technical trainings on farm management, post-harvest handling, and even values and personal development.
The linkages and the transfer of knowledge led KCGA to be a stronger institution, which Elmor considers a success.
What he now aspires to is for KCGA members to have their sons and daughters go to school and finish their education.
“And for young people who dream of helping their communities someday, do your best and help with a pure heart and without hidden intentions.”