To further strengthen and increase global competitiveness of the Philippine coffee industry, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with private sector, farmers groups and academe for the creation of a national roadmap that would boost development of the sector.
Jennifer Remoquillo, director of the DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), has presented the master plan for the Philippine coffee industry, aiming to provide guidance to attain a cost-competitive sector, that is reliable and environment-friendly aligned with global quality standards, and capable of providing sustainable benefits to farmers, processors, traders and exporters.
“The roadmap which sets as our country’s standard will reverse the current status of the Philippine coffee exports,” he said. The roadmap highlighted the difference between typical and modern coffee growing, gaps in the value chain that need to be addressed, good farming and management practices, and support services which include financing, logistics, and research and development.
As of 2011, the Philippines was a net importer of coffee while neighboring nations including Indonesia and Vietnam are net exporters.
The Philippines imports as much as 45,000 metric tons of coffee beans a year—worth about P4 billion—since farmers cannot produce as much coffee as Filipinos can consume.
Speaking before coffee industry stakeholders during the first general assembly of the Philippine Coffee Alliance, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala announced that President Benigno Aquino 3rd directed him to promote the coffee industry in the country.
“Coffee farming as intercrop in coconut lands can help farmers earn more.” he said in Filipino, underscoring the potential of coffee as an intercrop.
Alcala said the DA is seeking ways on how to sustain the increasing demand for coffee in the country today, and urged stakeholders to firm up collective actions.
“We have the capability to produce yet we are importing a lot. Import substitution and exportation is the way to go,” he added.
Philippine coffee industry leaders have been going around the country, gathering farmers and local leaders to urge them to help plant as many as 8 million seedlings this year, and reduce the country’s import bill on coffee.