THE Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) encourages coffee farmers with old coffee trees to rejuvenate their plants in a bid to increase the coffee production in the country.

During the press conference held yesterday at the 10th National Coffee Summit at the SMX Convention Center, Davao City, PCBI Board Member Joel Lumagbas said the Philippines has old coffee farms that needs to be rejuvenated for better coffee yield.

“Our annual production has been going from 25,000 metric to 35,000 metric tons maximum. Hopefully, we will be able to go more than 35,000 MT. We are hoping that a lot of farmers would continue expanding their areas. And for current coffee farmers, especially old coffee, the farmers should rejuvenate,” Lumagbas said adding that the current consumption rate of the Filipinos for 2017 is recorded to be at 150,000 MT, which poses a huge local market potential for coffee farmers.

He shared that he knows a farm in Sultan Kudarat whose coffees are about 30 to 40 years old and he said he could only imagine the greater yield it can have if the trees had been properly rejuvenated.

According to a post of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), coffee rejuvenation is “the cutting of vertical stems of old trees to induce growth of new sprouts. It is widely accepted practice for revitalizing coffee farms and has been found to be advantageous than replanting.”

PCBI Founding Trustee Bill Luz said the average coffee trees per hectare in the Philippines is around 1,000 trees. However recently the number has dwindled down to around 600 to 700 trees per hectare only.

“That’s what the Philippines needs. We have a lot of hectares of land but they needed to be rejuvenated to bring back this coffee prime yield potential. Hopefully, the government can create a program to get these farmers to rejuvenate the farms and at the same time, continue planting new trees,” added Lumagbas.

In a data by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the amount of dried coffee berries produced in the Philippines decreased by 4.86 percent to 68,823 MT in 2016 from 72,342 in 2015.

Coffee Arabica production had decreased by 3.89 percent to 16,756MT in 2016 from 17,434 MT in 2015. Coffee Excelsa has also reduced by 6.01 percent to 4,269 MT in 2016 from 4,546 MT in 2015.

From 49,847 MT in 2015, production of Coffee Robusta had reduced to 47,299 MT by last year. Coffee Liberica production in 2016 was recorded to be at 499 MT. It experienced a slight decreased from a 514 MT volume in 2015.