Monday July 16, 2018

Visayas rolls out coffee industry roadmap

THE Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022 for Visayas was rolled out at the start of the three-day assembly of stakeholders in Iloilo City on Wednesday, August 2.

Spearheaded by the Departments of Agriculture (DA) and of Trade and Industry (DTI), coffee stakeholders from Western, Central and Eastern Visayas and the Negros Island Region gathered in Iloilo City to discuss the roadmap and the current status of coffee industry in their respective regions.

President Rodrigo Duterte in March this year approved the Philippine Cacao and Coffee Industry roadmaps, which are vital instruments to provide direction to concerned stakeholders toward sustainable and globally competitive Philippine cacao and coffee industries, seen to contribute in achieving food security and poverty alleviation.

Myrna Pablo, DTI-national industry cluster coordinator for coffee, said the event aims to mainly disseminate the roadmap with coffee farmers or producers.

She said the roadmap serves as a "bible," which now sets the direction of the country’s coffee industry.

"We are localizing the national roadmap. We want to create a regional work plan so that our local coffee farmers would appreciate it," she added.

With the kick-off assembly on Wednesday, regional coffee council representatives were also able to present the status and updates of their coffee industries.

Among the four Visayas regions, Pablo said that Western Visayas has the biggest coffee production, particularly in the province of Iloilo.

Based on the presentation, some regions used their coffee produce only for their own consumption. Pablo said there are farmers who raised problems regarding the lack of coffee seedlings to plant and the poor quality of available seedlings.

Pablo said there is a need for Visayas regions to improve the quality of coffee beans they produce to command a better price.

In terms of the variety of coffee available in Visayas, Pablo said that "Robusta" coffee is abundant, however, "Arabica" coffee is the most in demand among buyers and is twice expensive than Robusta coffee.

But she said farmers can produce "fine Robusta, which could be equated to Arabica."

While these concerns are yet to be further discussed during the sessions, Pablo said that market opportunities of coffee farmers will also be tackled with participants.

On Thursday, Jorge Judan, an independent consultant, will talk about the global and regional market opportunities of coffee producers.

DA-Western Visayas Executive Director Remelyn Recoter expressed hope that the assembly will be able to improve the coffee industry of all the participating regions.

She assured that DA will further provide assistance to the coffee farmers to increase their production.

Participants are also expected to elect the Visayas representative to the Philippine Coffee Council. (PNA)