BAGUIO

More assistance eyed for coffee farmers

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) Cordillera is now in the process of assisting coffee growers in the region to help farmers in meeting the local demand and participate in the international scene.

Cameron Odsey, DA regional director, said the assistance given to growers in the region is to encourage them to produce quality coffee beans.

"Our focus now is to give better seedlings, provide better trainings and other assistance like providing for equipment like hullers and others needed by coffee producers," Odsey said.

In 2018, the DA aggressively pursued the rehabilitation projects for coffee plants in the region, specifically in the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, and Kalinga.

The DA seeks to improve the development of the coffee industry in the region by encouraging coffee farmers to have a better yield from quality coffee seedlings.

"Sometimes, the quality of coffee products suffers when it has a low yield. Harvesting the not so ripe seeds which when produced to become coffee, would not meet the quality expected from ripe seedlings," Odsey added.

Technical personnel for the DA in Cordillera were dispatched last year specifically to coffee growing areas of the provinces to conduct ocular inspections and inventories for inclusion in various projects of the department.

Aside from Arabica and Robusta varieties, other coffee varieties like Excelsa and Liberica would be planted in the expansion areas, noting that the climatic condition in the Cordillera is suited for growing coffee beans.

In Benguet Province, however, farmers would rather plant vegetables because of the expected monetary return the farmers foresees.

"The reality is, for example in Benguet, a farmer who has money will not invest in coffee but will invest in vegetables because of the income he will realize. That is why we encourage farmers not to develop hectares and hectares of land because that is impossible since we do not have that. What we encourage is for farmers to produce more, if they have an existing 20 hectares of farm land, then they can add 10 more," Odsey added.


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