THE Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Negros Occidental has surpassed its target 100-hectare additional coffee production areas this year.
Marjoe Balinas, provincial commodity coordinator, said that from 1,301.20 hectares last year, the province now has 1,416.20 hectares of coffee plantations.
Thus, there is an increase of 115 hectares for 2016.
“Our production areas have been increasing now as local farmers and producers have already realized the huge market potentials of coffee,” Balinas said.
In the last three years, the province’s coffee production was decreasing due to lack of technologies, technicalities, and awareness that there is “gold” in coffee industry, he added.
OPA records showed that the province’s current coffee supply deficit is 10,000 to15,000 metric tons annually.
The figure is part of the total shortage of 70,000 metric tons in the country, it added.
The demand has also increased to about 2.3 billion cups per day globally from only 1.4 billion cups.
Balinas said that with OPA’s continuous implementation of initiatives on increasing the production areas along with that of other agencies like the Department of Agrarian Reform and Philippine Coconut Authority, they are positive to eventually supply the entire local demand.
“In sustaining the increase in production, we need responsive local government units (LGUs) especially in determining available areas for plantation in their respective localities,” he said, assuring them that OPA will continue its program on seedling dispersal.
This year, OPA was able to disperse 115,000 coffee seedlings which translated to the said production increase of 115 hectares.
It was distributed to Murcia, Silay City, Bago City, San Carlos City and La Castellana, receiving 15,000 seedlings each.
Other recipient LGUs were Sipalay City with 20,000 seedlings; La Carlota City, 10,000; Bacolod City, 5,000; Himamaylan, 3,000; and Pontevedra, 2,000.
For next year, the Department of Agriculture in Region 6 and Negros Island Region have already committed an initial delivery of 250,000 seedlings, Balinas said.