DA wants to perk up Davao coffee industry

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
DA wants to perk up Davao coffee industry

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) wants to step up the production of coffee in Davao amid increasing local demand for the commodity.

DA-Region 11 High Value Crops Development Program coordinator Melani Provido said the government is targeting 1,000 hectares for coffee expansion to add to the existing 2,300 hectares in Davao.

“The demand for coffee is increasing by 2.4 percent every year and is expected to rise in the coming years. More and more people drink coffee every day.   There’s also an increasing consumption of coffee among the younger generation,” Provido said.

The region is focusing on the rehabilitation of 185,000 trees across the whole region as rejuvenated coffee trees are seen bearing larger berries after a year compared to replanting which normally takes up to four years.

“We need to rejuvenate old trees. It is a widely accepted practice for revitalizing coffee farms and has been found more advantageous than replanting,” she said.

To meet quality standards and volume requirements both locally and internationally, there should be expansion of coffee production, rehabilitation of old coffee plantations, observation of good agricultural practices (GAP), establishment of post-harvest facilities, and effective branding of green coffee beans.

DA also urged farmers to adopt GAP in their farms to ensure food safety and assure quality of agricultural produce while keeping high regard for environmental protection.

“Safe, quality, and competitive products must start with farmers’ adherence to GAP standards. High-value crops such as coffee, banana, cacao, durian and other industrial and horticultural crops are the region’s comparative advantage,” Provido said.

Currently, coffee is the second most consumed beverage, the second most traded commodity, and the fifth most important agricultural product.

The Department of Trade and Industry has listed Davao Region, Central Mindanao, and the ARMM as the top producers of coffee.

The Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap aims to guarantee a coffee industry that is cost-competitive, aligned with global-quality standards, reliable and environment-friendly, and that will provide sustainable benefits to farmers, processors, traders, and exporters, and attain food security and poverty alleviation.

Data showed that coffee production dropped 8.7 percent to 18,420 metric tons in the first quarter due to cutting of old and less productive trees and the effects of fruit borers.

Of the total, 72.5 percent was Robusta, 18.4 percent Arabica, 8.5 percent Excelsa, and one percent Liberica.

Soccskargen was the country’s top-producing region during the period.

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