THE Davao Coffee Council urged the farming of coffee trees in elevated areas in Davao City to boost local coffee production.
Davao Coffee Council chair Ian Asilo said some of the elevated areas in the city which were then Arabica coffee farms have been converted as banana plantations while the lower areas are now planted with cacao.
He said during the 70s to 90s, the coffee farmers were discouraged by the drop in the buying prices of coffee by Chinese traders which led to the conversion of the areas.
“Ang comprada sa Calinan naa sa P70 to P75. Kung ikaw farmer, naa ka sa bukid, harveson nimo ang imong kape, paugahon pa nimo, it takes time and effort and bakilid kaayo siya, ang farmer, mawala ang iyang gana (The wholesale price of coffee in Calinan ranges from P70 to P75 per kilogram. Some farmers are discouraged because after the time and effort they put in the processing of the beans, it will just be bought at this price),” he said.
Currently, most of the coffee farms were in the town of Maragusan in Davao de Oro, Mahayag in Davao City, and an area in Lupon in Davao Oriental.
There is also a farm in the Bansalan part of Mt. Apo owned by the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (Bacofa).
In the information provided by the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (Acdi/Voca), other cooperatives which are producing coffees are the Miarayon Lapok Lirongan Tinaytayan Talaandig Tribal Association. (Milalittra) in Bukidnon, and Tupi Coffee Growers Association, Inc. (Tucogai) in South Cotabato.
He said the major challenge of the coffee industry remains to be the unmet demand in local and international markets and the production of specialty coffees.
“We are promoting specialty coffee because it has a higher price,” he said.
Asilo said the council partnered with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Acdi/Voca for the training of the coffee farmers in the production of specialty coffee in these areas.
“Before kung mag harvest ka og coffee, pag naa nay hinog sa usa ka pungpong, pwede ra to haruson. Pero sa specialty coffee, pick red. Pero kutihan sila. Kapoyan sila (Before, you harvest a cluster of coffee beans even if it only has a few ripe fruits. But in specialty coffee, you only pick red. They find it too tedious),” he said.
He said the council and other stakeholders also need to coordinate with the Indigenous People in these areas to allow them to cultivate coffee beans.