A brewing success

Thelma Dumpit-Murillo

Thelma Dumpit-Murillo

We drove up to the City of Pines to lend support to the 1st Philippine Coffee Conference organized jointly by the Departments of Trade and Industry and of Agriculture.

I must congratulate DTI – Cordillera Administrative Regional Director Myrna Pablo and her team for mustering a crowd of almost 600 delegates from all over the country made up of coffee farmers, producers, traders, advocates and enthusiasts like myself to talk everything about coffee.

Held at the Hotel Supreme in Baguio City, the conference tackled the current situation of the coffee industry and what ails it from encouraging more investors to come in.

From no. 3, the Philippines’ ranking has dropped to no. 25 in the list of coffee – producing countries. But all is not lost. The past years, various interventions were introduced designed to revive the industry: focus group discussions, value chain approach workshops, industry clustering.

Coffee is among the products adopted by the DTI – CAR to nurture along with heirloom rice and tourism. In her remarks, RD Pablo reported on the positive results of these initiatives which mind you, were the same things pointed out by the private sector as “must do” to move the coffee industry forward. But government can only do so much as to enable. Into the hands of the private sector lie the future of coffee as a sustainable product

Bakit yummy ang kape ni Coco Martin?

This was the first slide in the presentation of Ruth Novales, Nestle VP for Corporate Affairs, on the 10 year Nescafe Plan, a global initiative which integrates the value chain approach in coffee – growing from the planting to processing, from the green beans to the consumer. It is about new technology in coffee farming, training, and technical assistance to farmers. Kaya mas masarap ang kape ni Coco.

Because beyond the cup is the thought that shared value has been created.

Rocky Mountain is owned by French-Canadian Pierre Cote who has been Filipinized by virtue of being in the Philippines for the last 20 years and married to a Filipina.

He raised some interesting points: there is no real coffee industry, with 95% mainly backyard growers with no access to markets. The new generation stays away from farming. But there are a lot of opportunities to consider with fast and increasing demand for coffee worldwide. By the way, the South Koreans are biggest consumers of coffee.

We need centers of excellence where technology is available to farmers. We need to cluster farmers to produce large quantities and address volume. We need post-harvest facilities for storage to ensure quality of our beans.

Make available financing mechanisms that provide grace period while in the gestation period. We must guarantee purchases of the farmers’ produce to encourage them to plant and stay in the business.

All these at a cost of about P77 million. Chicken feed!

What is that compared to the P10 billion PDAF available? If only it was put to good use, then maybe we have a fighting chance to reclaim our no.3 spot. If we miss this chance again, expect coffee imports to increase, more jobs will be created in Vietnam instead of the Philippines. So the challenge posed is for importers to plant more coffee trees and support our farmers by buying from them. That is Mr. Cote’s words, not mine.

Too bad we missed the coffee farm tour and the coffee business forum but I am sure there will be more events of the same nature in the future. For now, we must stay awake. Another cup of coffee should do the trick!

God is Great!



Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Baguio Transient on

    So good to read such a positive article on the Coffee of the Cordilleras. The DTI and others really should be congratulated for focusing attention to this growing industry.
    And what better place to do it than in the cool mountain air of Baguio, where a cup of coffee is doubly deliscious!
    Yes Dustin, we are all cognizant of the troubles be-setting our country and the poor excuse for leaders that we have. However sometimes our tired hearts do appreciate a short break from these issues & what better way than with a cup of local coffee from the Mountains of Benguet.

  2. I always notice filipinas always like to make a big thing in congratulating people. You start off by saying i must congratulate dti blah blah blah, well the person works for the dti, thats her job. Tell her to work harder in doing her job. Then right at the end you very last words god is great, muslims say that before they blow themselves up or kill someone. If there is a god & i doubt it i say he has a lot to answer for by allowing people like janet lim napolez to so easily steal billions of pesos from this country. For allowing man to do the evil things he does, i say if there is a god make him accountable for what he has allowed to happen in this world & dont make the excuse he gave us free will as if he knows everything, & you religious freaks say he does know everything then he would have known that man would abuse free will, so a good rightous god would not have given us free will so then we would all have lived a happier better life. Think about it. I have no fear of dying & facing him if he is there as i have a lot to say to him.