Saturday, July 20, 2019

Farmers: Coffee demand high but supply is low

WITH more coffee shops starting operations, the demand for high-quality specialty coffees had also increased although the current supply may not be able yet to fully support the demand, said coffee processors of Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (Bacofa) and Pine Valley Farm.

“At first, we really didn’t believe that our coffees have a huge potential and demand. It was only with the intervention of DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the non-government organizations (NGO) that we were able to understand that indeed there is a high demand for high-quality specialty coffees,” Marivic Dubria, Bacofa Marketing Officer, said during a press conference Tuesday, April 3, at Frog Kaffee Torres.

Dubria said Bacofa was able to produce 28,000kg of specialty coffee for the years 2016 and 2017. Their coffees are being delivered to coffee shops in Manila, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Davao City. These are also already exported to Japan.

Delio Cesar, the proprietor of Pine Valley Farm said he has average harvest of about 2 kilograms (kg) to 3kg of coffee per tree per year.

At present, they are on their second batch of harvests and Cesar estimates it to reach 500kg all in all.

In support, Thelonious Trimmel, Agricultural Cooperative Development International (Acdi/Voca) Chief of Party said this is already a fair amount as in the Philippines, the coffees average 300 grams of harvested coffee per tree per year only without proper care and attention of the trees.

Pine Valley Farm has a total land area of 11 hectares with seven of it allotted for coffee. During the recently completed Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC), Cesar’s Robusta Coffee was ranked the 5th best nationwide with a rating of 85.38. Out of his seven-hectare coffee plantation, he allots three hectares for his Robusta coffee and four hectares for his Arabica coffee.

“In order to really have good-quality coffee beans, we observe religious application of fertilizer, spraying, and pruning. Roughly, we spend about P12,000 to P15,000 maintaining the trees per week. This excludes the fertilizer and other stuff needed,” said Cesar in vernacular.

“We realized that the demand is really not a problem as long as we make sure that we are producing quality and deliver well-selected beans to our clients. There is the market, we just lack the good supply. Sometimes we cannot already cater to all the demands because we do not have enough supply,” Dubria added.

In a bid to help out with the problem, NGOs such as Acdi/Voca had been training coffee farmers to produce and process better coffees. Currently, Bacofa cooperative has 78 members but Dubria said they are expecting 150 more who had completed the training conducted by Acdi/Voca. (JPA)
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