COFFEE industry stakeholders from various parts of the country are set to convene in Baguio City on March 20 to 21 for the 3rd Philippine Coffee Conference to forward the goals set for the PH Coffee Roadmap 2022 that aims to attain self–sufficiency and global competitiveness.

The two-day conference set at Hotel Supreme will be spearheaded by Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez as chair and vice–chair of the Philippine Coffee Council, respectively, along with private sector co-chairpersons Nestle Philippines vice president for Corporate Affairs Ruth Novales and Bo’s Coffee CEO Steve Benitez.

The conference will feature presentation of the industry performance report on the first year of the implementation of the Philippine Coffee Roadmap and sharing and transfer of relevant knowledge and trends aligned with the roadmap’s strategic objectives, among others.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)–Cordillera Director Myrna Pablo, in a Kapihan media forum for the launching of the 2018 Philippine Coffee Conference at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Office, outlined the importance of such event in pushing for the country’s goal to increase production toward sufficiency, as well as to boost the country’s coffee products toward global competitiveness.

Pablo said the country may not be a big player in terms of coffee production but it ranks fifth as top coffee consumers and ranks number one in importing soluble coffee. "This makes it more important that we push for the attainment of the Philippine Coffee Roadmap," she said.

The Philippine coffee products can easily compete internationally such as the highland coffee varieties available in Cordillera, which is why the DA and DTI and their private partners are continuously focusing on increasing productivity and product development/value adding, Pablo said.

DA-Cordillera Technical Director Cameron Odsey, who is in-charge of the High Value Commercial Crops Development Program, affirmed the high potential of the country’s coffee industry, which is why the agriculture department is continuously investing especially on production, primarily to meet the local demand by encouraging Cordillerans into backyard coffee planting and farmers to multi–cropping or to plant coffee between their crops.

DA–Cordillera RTD for Operations Danilo Daguio said different local government units in the region have around P500-million project proposals for coffee production development and that the DA has 44 approved project proposals from Cordillera under the Philippine Rural Development Program which prime commodity is coffee.

DA and DTI officials were joined by private partners -- Cordillera Regional Coffee Council chair Oliver Oliem, Goldfish Brew owner Gemma Ngelangel, Tuba Benguet Coffee Growers Association President Shirley Palao–ay and Trentwoods Plant Nursery representative Charles Matnao who expressed their support to the potentials of the coffee industry.