BAGUIO CITY – A local coffee industry player pointed out the importance of quality planting materials coupled with the adoption of proper farming, storage and processing techniques to be able to produce quality coffee beans that command higher buying prices in the local and international markets.
Dr. Melvin Hipol, the founder of the Kape Ti Uma, Inc., said he was able to observe that coffee plantations in most parts of the province are not properly maintained that result to the infestation of coffee plants resulting to poor quality coffee beans and lower buying prices in the market.
“We learned that there were some agencies who had been encouraging farmers to shift to coffee production but when harvest time came, the personnel could no longer be contacted to help them market their produce, thus, they again decided to cut the planted coffee trees and replace them with cash crops that provide them periodic income. We were challenged to organize ourselves into a company to help small coffee farmers in the rural areas to market their produce,” Hipol stressed.
Apart from having planted quality coffee trees which is around 800 to 1,000 trees per hectare for Arabica and more or less 2,000 trees for Robusta, Hipol suggested that coffee farmers must immediately depulp the harvested coffee beans within the day, soak the same in water for 18 to 24 hours before drying them in direct sunlight for 15 to 20 days depending on weather condition.
Hipol added the coffee beans must have a moisture content of 11 to 13 percent because if the moisture exceeds 13 percent, the aroma of the coffee beans and its taste will no longer be maximized while if it is below 11 percent, it will be premature to roast the coffee beans.
According to him, the dried coffee beans could be stored in hermit bags for at least 2 months for Arabica and 5 months for Robusta before being roasted through full city roasting or the border of medium and dark roast.
However, he claimed small farmers could not afford the hermit bags that is why they are advised to put the coffee beans in clean sacks and make sure that they are kept in airy portions of the house while waiting for the produce to be sold.
Hipol disclosed their company is eying the grading of some 8 to 10 tons of Arabica coffee beans and 20 to 30 tons of Robusta coffee beans after the harvest season by February next year to help small farmers market their produce considering that they buy the product of small farmers from the different parts of the province and sell them to interested buyers.
He claimed the company will remain transparent in the grading of the coffee beans of the farmers for them to be aware of the quality of their produce and encourage them to continue planting coffee in their respective places as part of helping promote the coffee industry.
The company intends to help some 150 coffee farmers in the different parts of Benguet in accessing local and international markets.