BAGUIO CITY – Some three thousand two hundred fifty-three coffee-related micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are operating in the different parts of the cordillera.
Juliet Lucas, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-CAR), disclosed that most of the coffee-related MSMEs are based in Kalinga while others are situated in Benguet and Mountain Province.
Further, she added that Ifugao is now also thriving as one of the major coffee producers in the region while Apayao is banking on its available land area for production to make the province as a future coffee producer to help sustain the region’s identity as the primer source of quality coffee being sold in both the local and international markets.
The DTI-CAR official admitted that prospects of coffee both locally and internationally remain to be impressive that is why local coffee farmers must work on increasing productivity in terms of yield per tree and the plantation area aside from putting value added to their coffee produce.
She revealed that the average plantation area for a coffee farmer in the region is only around half hectare that is why the coffee plantation area in the Cordillera remains to be not that huge compared to the coffee plantation sites in Mindanao and the Southern Tagalog regions.
Aside from being a sustainable source of livelihood, Director Lucas stipulated that coffee also serves as a material for reforestation that will help in bringing back the greenery of denuded mountain slopes to help increase the coffee production areas in the different parts of the region.
According to her, the demand for coffee in the European Union (EU) countries and the United States is enormous. That is why coffee farmers and other concerned stakeholders should take advantage of the situation to be able to significantly increase their production and provide value added for their produce to be able to target the said market.
Lucas emphasized that the country is importing around 90 percent of the country’s coffee requirements while the 10 percent come from local produce.
On the other hand, she emphasized the importance of proper packaging and labelling of the coffee produce of farmers in adherence to prevailing standards so that people will be interested to patronize locally produced but well packaged and labelled coffee.
Another aspect of coffee that needs to be considered, according to the DTI-CAR official, is the quality of the beans where one of the latest winners in an international competition was able to sell his produce at $25.52 per kilo.
Moreover, she cited that from the previous P90 per kilo of green beans, some farmers were already able to sell the same at P350 per kilo or even higher depending on the grade of their produce.
Coffee is considered by many people as an important ingredient of file because it is the one that is offered to visitors and as one of the things offered to friends anytime.
Lucas asserted that it is important for concerned stakeholders to take advantage of the high demand of coffee in both the local and international market because the Cordillera remains to be one of the major sources of Arabica coffee which is in demand worldwide.