Cordillera Coffee’s high international business potential-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
THE Cordillera region’s topography has always been favorable for the production of organic and natural coffee. It is perceived to bring potential source of income and employment while diversifying food production and improving the forest cover of reforestation areas and marginal lands in the region.
The Philippine Coffee Board, created in 2002 through its co-chairman Pacita Juan, reiterated during the opening of the 1st Cordillera Coffee Fiesta at the Benguet State University that come 2020 the international coffee industry is set to have a coffee production shortfall of close to 32 million coffee bags.
At present, the Philippines consumes around 65,000 metric tons of coffee per year. However it only produces only 25,000 metric tons per year. This is aside from the importation of close to 40,000 metric tons of Vietnam and Indonesian coffee amounting to P4 billion a year.
The low productivity of coffee in the country may be attributed to the construction of subdivisions in former coffee plantations. Take for example in the province of Cavite where 7,000 hectares are allotted to coffee plantations but Kalinga, on the other hand, has one town with a coffee plantation of only up to 4,000 hectares.
The Philippine Coffee Board identified other problems in the industry like aging farmers, lacking post harvest practices, scientists and extension workers.
But with the recent joint undertaking of the Philippine Coffee Board, the Benguet State University and its research and development consortiums, the various government line agencies, and the coffee producers which are the main constituents of the industry, solutions such as creating Arabica nurseries; making the province of Kalinga as the Robusta capital of the Northern Luzon; offering short courses and seminars on coffee production; and the establishment of institutions such as the proposed Benjamin Dimas School of Coffee(named after the father of Philippine Coffee Production) and eyed to be the most complete coffee facility in the country, are being studied.
Juan pointed out that specialty markets are looking for sustainable coffee, rainforest coffee, shade grown coffee, organic coffee, and fair trade coffee which is abundant in the Cordillera region. A clear potential to market the industry not only locally, but internationally as well.
But aside from its business potential, the coffee plantation industry in the Cordillera under the National Greening Program of 2011 has planted close to 548 hectares of coffee seedlings in the identified agroforestry and reforestation areas, a strategy to help mitigate impacts of climate change in the region.
And for the eight year preparation for us to help in the impending international coffee production shortfall in 2020, producers are urged to continue the coffee industry. Science and Technology strategies are available at the Benguet State University, aside from government funding support for potential coffee production.
Hopefully, the objectives on good production practices of coffee through science and technology, coffee being a viable industry-investment area, promotion of existing coffee brands in the region, strengthening convergence among coffee key stakeholders and players, and the availability of forums to discuss the problems and issues in the coffee industry from production, processing and marketing will be thoroughly met.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 10, 2012.