Posted on December 9th, 2008
In these times of rising prices of rice and OFWâ€™s going home because of the recession, one commodity could provide promise for the country, and that is coffee. Quite overlooked because of bigger events hugging the headlines, coffee farming could bring hopes to farmer.
Just look at these details from Nestle Philippines Inc.: Estimated annual domestic coffee consumption was pegged at 65,000 MT, while production is only 30,000 MT. Local production of domestic coffee is still way below of the demand. The 35,000 MT imported annually just to fill in the gap is valued at P3.5 Billion.
Rebecca B. Gacayan of Kulaman Coffee product, a local coffee processor based in Sultan Kudarat is urging farmers to plant coffee so they can avail of its high buying price which is currently pegged at P92.50 per kilo for the premium grade. A far cry from the P36.47 per kilo price five years ago.
“By planting coffee, farmers will have faster turn-over compared to other high-value [fruit] crops. After 18 months, coffee can already be harvested. There is money in coffee farming,” she said during the market matching activity organized by the regional Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Philippine demand for coffee is growing at two percent annually and the volume is expected to rise to 75,000 MT by 2015, according to Gacayan.
Presently, the coffee production in the country is concentrated in Mindanao. Their estimated volume of production last year was 17,600 MT. Luzonâ€™s coffee production for the same period was 8,975 MT, while the Visayas contributed 2,000 MT.
Coffee is the â€œOne Town, One Productâ€ of Sultan Kudarat province with Senator Ninoy Aquino as the main proponent of the project. Their coffee plantations has an approximate are of 15,500 hectares, their production volume is 5,270. They are the leading producer of coffee in Mindanao, followed by Bukidnon with a coffee plantation area of 7,200 hectares with a production of 2,500 MT. Following at third is Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) whose coffee plantation has an area of 6,500 hectares and coffee production has a volume of 1,700 MT.
Presently, the country is sourcing half of the coffee requirements from Vietnam and Thailand, that is why there is really a need for farmers to try coffee farming. In line with this, Pacita U. Juan of the Philippine Coffee Board announced that Nestle Philippines is planning to develop 5,000 new hectares of coffee plantation in Mindanao annually. Being a typhoon-free area, it is the ideal place for coffee-growing, said Juan who is also the chief executive officer of Figarro Coffee Systems, Inc.