A ONE day training on Rejuvenation Techniques on Arabica Coffee and Composting Methods was slated last February 12 in La Trinidad, Benguet.

The training was for the benefit of Arabica growers in the municipality.

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The Cordillera Integrated Agriculture Research Center (CIARC); the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PMED) and the GMA High Value Commercial Crops (HVCC) sector of the DA-RFU-CAR organized the training.

The Department of Agriculture prioritized this commodity under the High Value Commercial Crops Program due to its investment bankability in the region.

Arabica coffee is now in demand, said Andrew Cawa, president and organizer of the Balangbang Coffee Growers Association (BACOGA).

He revealed coffee enthusiasts and traders from the USA have posted their orders to import Arabica coffee beans; thus the need for the association members to double their coffee production to be able to meet the requirement needed by these foreign investors.

Cawa said the demand will be met if members will plant new coffee seedlings and rejuvenate the old trees or on productive plants.

Aside from Arabica coffee, Balangbang is also into potted flowers production; cutflowers, vegetables such as broccoli; petchay, Baguio beans and sayote.

Cawa further said the sayote production is under the sayote association in the area and being brought directly from the farm, which demanded a higher and stable price of the commodity.

During the program, Doctor Magdalena Wanawan, Chief of the CIARC brought kilos of vermiculture compost to show coffee farmers the importance and benefits of using organic fertilizer.

Vermiculture is the process of using earthworms to decompose organic materials into usable vermin-compost or worm casting.

Wanawan added vermiculture combats environmental stress since earthworms consume huge quantities of decomposed litter, manure and other organic matters deposited in the soil.

She further said earthworms play an important role in the food chain and are detectives for soil pollutants.

During the training, Renato Dingwas, a farmer entrepreneur demonstrated the way to compost biodegradable waste materials to produce organic fertilizer.

Dingwas had been a resource person of the DA whenever the department goes to the provinces to conduct trainings.

According to Dingwas, a good compost will consist of banana stalks, leaves and of peelings, which provides moisture to the compost; sunflower leaves; vegetables by – products; kitchen refuse; alnus leaves which gives fiber and nitrogen to the soil, grass and weeds which are easy to decay, water, garden soil and earthworms (vermi) if available.

Meanwhile, Susan D. Balanza, Chief of the PMED said Balangbang is a good pilot area for organically grown coffee because coffee planters are clustered in the area.

Balanza said coffee production will give extra income to coffee growers. She likewise revealed the Regional Development Council (RDC) headed by the National Economic and Development (Neda) gave some money to the DA RFU CAR for Arabica coffee production.

Aside from vermi-composting, a grass shredder worth P42,000 was awarded to Bacoga to hasten composting procedures.

Balanza said other equipments such as coffee hullers will follow if their project will be maintained and succeed.

In the meantime, Leo Balagot, a coffee expert from Bureau of Plant Industry (BNCRDC-BPI) conducted actual demonstration on how to rejuvenate old coffee trees in the area and to sow new coffee seeds for better growth and expansion of their coffee production project.

Balanza added interested coffee growers can come to the regional office for assistance. (Alice Tabuno)