Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming


Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

Upon commencing his endeavors in coffee farming and production, Denz Bert Deramos recognized the significant financial potential in the industry. By embracing calculated risks and exerting effort, he concluded that coffee could yield substantial returns.

But for Deramos, it is not just about the money. He has a greater vision in mind: to make a positive impact and inspire other farmers in Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat province. Many of the coffee farmers in his municipality struggle with poverty and lack knowledge of sustainable coffee farming practices. Deramos hopes to change that.

Deramos studied Marketing Management at Notre Dame of Marbel University, where he began selling coffee in 2020 as part of a requirement for an entrepreneurship class.

For his Entrepreneurial Track subject, Deramos decided to focus on coffee as his business instead of doing the usual on-the-job training. During a presentation for his entrepreneurship class, he presented a business plan centered around coffee.

Among the judges was Kenneth Clint Bajade, a Q Arabica Grader from South Cotabato province. Impressed by Deramos' potential, Bajade encouraged him to fully pursue coffee farming and production. With the support and collaboration of Master Roaster and Farm Technician Denis Cocoba, Deramos embarked on his journey into the world of coffee.

Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

After graduating in 2022, he fully committed to coffee production, specializing in both commercial coffee and Fine Robusta. At the young age of 23, he boldly decided to grow his coffee business instead of following the traditional path of employment like many of his classmates. Deramos chose entrepreneurship over the security of a steady job, determined to make his mark in the world of coffee.

At first, Deramos was interested in sports. However, he later discovered the value of coffee farming and its potential to improve not only his own life but also the lives of others in his town.

"Farming has always been a part of my life. I grew up helping my father on the farm and loved the work. For me, farming is more than just a way to make a living - it's a path to achieve my dreams,” Deramos said.

Initially, Deramos sold commercial-grade coffee and used his classmates as resellers for distribution. After attending various coffee training and receiving mentorship from Bajade and Cocoba, he expanded his business to include specialty coffee.

The Traditional Way of Coffee Farming

Harvesting coffee was no easy feat for Deramos. The coffee trees on his farm and in other areas had grown so tall that he needed to climb a ladder to reach the ripe cherries. Working alongside other farm workers, Deramos meticulously picked only the reddest cherries. Despite facing numerous challenges, he persevered and was able to harvest over 130 kg of fresh cherries in a single day.

"It's disheartening to see the traditional farming methods still in use in our town. Many farmers don't practice sustainable agriculture, and their coffee trees grow too tall. The lack of knowledge about proper care and maintenance of coffee trees makes harvesting and processing a challenge.”

Deramos candidly admits that in the past, he and his family neglected their coffee farm due to a lack of knowledge about proper care and maintenance. Without the necessary expertise, they were unable to fully realize the potential of their land.

“In the past, we only checked and cleaned our coffee farm three times a year. But now, we've stepped up our game. We perform monthly care and maintenance to ensure that our coffee trees are healthy and thriving."

Deramos practices integrated farming by using banana plants to provide shade for his coffee plants. He earns a weekly income from selling bananas and also raises pigs. This diversification helps support his coffee farm.

Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

Deramos also draws inspiration from his fellow coffee farmer and trader, Rey John Basco, and his efforts to produce high-quality coffee. Despite his youth, Basco has already made a significant impact on the region's coffee industry.

Another challenge that the young farmer faces is that most coffee farmers in his town are skeptical of his advice due to his lack of experience. He has yet to demonstrate that his farming techniques can increase productivity on their farms.

“It's difficult to convince them to follow my advice because I have yet to prove that my techniques can lead to success in coffee farming. Many still hold onto the belief that seeing is believing," said Deramos.

Other coffee farmers do not believe him because he is young and has not yet proven himself. Instead of just telling them what to do, he showed them the results.

Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

On joining coffee competitions and exhibitions

Encouraged by his mentors, Deramos entered the 2023 Kape Dose Coffee Quality Competition and placed 5th in the Fine Robusta category. This achievement marked his first significant progress as a newcomer in the coffee industry.

“To maintain consistent quality, I follow the techniques I learned from my mentors and coffee training. I also innovate to improve my coffee production,” he said.

Deramos' Robusta coffee was showcased alongside other Philippine coffee at the 2023 Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, Oregon. He got the top spot for the best Fine Robusta.

"I was pleasantly surprised when my coffee received high marks. I simply followed the advice of my mentors," he said.

Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

He regularly participates in various coffee competitions and exhibitions to ensure that the quality of his coffee remains consistently high.

Deramos is passionate about sharing his knowledge with those who are eager to learn. He emphasizes that taking the right actions is crucial for achieving good results and that the results will speak for themselves.

“It's easier to encourage other coffee farmers when you can show them results. Without tangible evidence, it's difficult to convince them to adopt quality coffee farming practices,” Deramos said.

"What sets us apart is our ability to control the quality of our coffee because we have our own farm. Even if we don't come out on top, as long as our coffee is high-quality and valuable, I'll do my best to produce quality beans.”

Brewing Change: Denz Bert Deramos’ Impact on Sultan Kudarat’s Coffee Farming

Deramos' mentors encourage him to take a measured approach to his goals, advising him to take things step by step rather than aiming too high too quickly. This approach helps him stay focused on his objectives and remain grounded, even as he achieves initial success.

“My hope is to inspire the new generation of coffee farmers to take an active interest in our town's coffee industry. By adopting new farming technologies, we can work together to improve farm productivity and ensure a bright future for our community."

"If you have a goal and a passion for farming, don't give up on it,” he said.