Mindanao coffee producer entices farmers to plant Arabica

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Friday, March 21, 2014


A COFFEE producer in Mindanao has encouraged upland farmers to plant coffee Arabica for better income without sacrificing the production of their traditional food crops.

Roberto Ansaldo, president of the Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Company (RMACC), said during the agri-business forum in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday that coffee farming is a boon for farmers if given the needed support.

The agri-business forum was organized by the local economic and investment promotion as a follow up activity after Cagayan de Oro’s successful Investment Forum in Makati City last February.

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Ansaldo, who proposed the production of coffee Arabica, explained that upland communities can easily organized to utilize their surrounding idle lands and plant the coffee species for added income.

He said that unlike the other coffee species Robusta that is propagated at a lower elevation, Arabica grows well at 800 meters or more above sea level.

“Arabica coffee bean production has a stable market that I want to engage the highland farmers to plant the species and RMACC will buy their produce at a price dictated by the world market,” Ansaldo said.

Arabica is said to produce better tasting coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, the Robusta, because Robusta cherries contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica. Arabica is used for brewed coffee, while Robusta is for manufactured instant coffee.

RMACC will supply the seedlings to the farmers, including the technology to ensure the quality of the coffee beans.

He said that for every 100-hectare plantation or the equivalent, RMACC would establish a processing complex in the area.

“Farmers need not go through the post-harvest work, like drying, peeling and delivery as we will buy the fresh cherry as soon as harvested. All they have to do after four years from planting is to pick and harvest the ripe cherry and sell,” Ansaldo said.

He said that for a hectare of Arabica coffee, a farmer could earn more than P200,000 a year or more , depending on the market price.

RMACC brand is widely used for brewed coffee in big hotels and restaurant in the country.

“And that would definitely change the upland landscape where communities will have better income opportunities,” Ansaldo said.

Meanwhile, the Higaonon Tribe in the upland barangays in Cagayan de Oro City has signified its interest to the proposal of RMACC and would conduct survey of the estimated 300 hectares in their barangays that could be used for Arabica coffee plantation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 22, 2014.

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