Joji Pantoja

Joji (aka Lakambini Mapayapa) graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (B.Sc., 1979). She also studied International Relations at the University of the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 1986 and since then developed a successful career in the investment and financial industry. She returned to the Philippines in 2006. As CEO of Coffee For Peace, Inc., she became the Women Entrepreneur Winner of CitiBank-Business in Development Network, Philippines in 2010. She also received, in 2015, an N-Peace Award from the United Nations Development Program – Impact Investment Exchange Asia (UNDP-IIXAsia) in behalf of the women who comprise the 80 percent of the farming farmers of Coffee For Peace, Inc. She was invited for the N-Peace Awards Ceremony at One UN Hotel, New York, NY. In October of 2017, Lakambini completed her Master of Entrepreneurship in Social Enterprise Development, Ateneo de Manila University - Graduate School of Business. Asked why she left her career in Vancouver, Canada for Mindanao: “I can’t imagine having a summary of my life printed on my tombstone as: ‘Spent her life managing rich people’s money.’ I want to be remembered as: ‘A person who walked with the people as they find dignity through sustainable economic development.’”

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I thank God that this is actually happening! I'm so excited for the the B'laan First Nation's first coffee export to Canada. This will put them on the map of Fair Trade. I hope this will help them get their message across regarding their aspiration for their right to self-determination as a people. Thanks to Stacy Toews of Level Ground Trading, Len Rempel of Ten Thousand Villages, and all our friends and family in Canada for making this possible!


We sent the first batch of our B’laan coffee beans export to Level Ground Trading in Vancouver Island, Canada.

The Coffee for Peace (CFP) management team–Kriz Cruzado, Keith Grubaugh, and I, with the help of the whole CFP staff and the PeaceBuilders Community–made this possible. Pastor Fred Fredeluces, our Arabica coffee production guru, has been walking with us and guiding us since we started connecting with the Bl’aan Tribe.

Pastor Malsi Buan, the spiritual leader of our partner community among the B’laan First Nation in Mt. Matutum, was there to send the 10 sacks of Arabica coffee off across the Pacific Ocean.

Pastor Buan was so happy that their tribal identity has been respected and dignified: “Hindi man ako makapunta sa Canada, pero ang aming mataas na kalidad na kape ay magbi-bigay saya sa mga kapatid natin sa Canada.” (I may not be able to go to Canada, but our high quality coffee will be enjoyed by our Canadian brothers and sisters.)

He told us to thank the Canadians, in behalf of his tribe, for treating their coffee growers justly through fair trade. It was in January 2010 that a group of Canadians went to this B’laan community in Mt Matutum. During that visit, they shared their life-stories together, expressed mutual respect to each others’ culture, and promised to partner with each other through fair trade.

CFP is committed to advance Fair Trade, not just for marketing purposes, but to really see genuine justice and peace among the coffee farmers in the Philippines, specially the Indigenous People–whom CFP regards as the First Nations in this archipelago.

Some of the Fair Trade Principles which we faithfully follow at CFP are:

:: CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED PRODUCERS. Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system.

:: TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Fair Trade involves transparent management and commercial relations to deal fairly and respectfully with trading partners.

:: CAPACITY BUILDING. Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. Fair Trade relationships provide continuity, during which producers and their marketing organizations can improve their management skills and their access to new markets.

:: PAYMENT OF A FAIR PRICE. A fair price in the regional or local context is one that has been agreed through dialogue and participation. It covers not only the costs of production but enables production which is socially just and environmentally sound. It provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair Traders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing.

Mindanao Times, a regional paper in the Philippines, has recognized CFP’s role in advancing just-peace and fair trade among the First Nations in our land.

For more information, please visit our website.

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