MORE than 50 upland farmers, who are members of an indigenous Ati tribe, will be planting high value variety of coffee as part of the government’s coffee rejuvenation and production program.

A total of 54 upland farmers in northern Iloilo, mostly members of an indigenous Ati tribe living in the hinterlands of sitio Nagpana, Barangay Lipata, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, have participated in the two month School on the Air (SOA) program of the Department of Agriculture that focuses on coffee rejuvenation and production.

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The revived coffee industry of Iloilo will once again be given impetus of the agriculture department in enlisting the highland dwellers to plant coffee, notably of Robusta and Arabica variety earlier found to be suitable to the area.

High value crop coordinator (HVCC) Victoria Pacificador said that great demands are now on coffee as a necessary drink for active people and as an anti-oxidant health drink.

The renewed interest on coffee was spawned by several coffee shops in the city that cater mostly to call center agents and other nighttime worker. But today, coffee is also considered as an important health drink.

Several areas in the municipalities of Barotac Viejo, Passi City, Leon, San Enrique Dingle, Concepcion, Pototan, San Enrique, San Rafael, New Lucena, Sta Barbara and Calinog, all in the province of Iloilo and in the island province of Guimaras were observed to be suited for coffee planting.

The training started in the first week of November and ended Thursday.

The SOA on coffee rejuvenation and production is spearheaded by the DA banner commodity under the office of HVCC of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani.

Pacifiacdor said that coffee production has been declining significantly and there is an urgent need to increase production as the country is importing 20,000 to 30,000 metric tons of coffee beans every year to meet the supply deficits and demands. (LCP)