Kalinga farmers seek to revive coffee industry

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga: Residents here expressed concern over the declining coffee industry in many villages and are seeking government intervention to revive this traditional source of income for many families.

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Director Lorenzo Caranguian of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region said residents of the province, particularly in this city and in Tanudan town, made urgent requests for coffee seedlings.

Caranguian added that recent findings of the Kalinga Coffee Council (KCC) have shown factors that caused coffee production to drop.

Of the original 5,550-hectare coffee production area in 2014, he said, only 3,427 hectares are left for coffee production because of massive conversion of coffee lands into corn farms.

According to the provincial agriculturist office (PAO), another factor is the lack of access roads to the far-flung coffee-producing villages.

PAO chief Domingo Bakilan, however, said they are expecting residents to go back to coffee production as soon as ongoing farm-to-market road (FMR) projects are completed.

Bakilan added that two multi-million FMR projects funded by the World Bank under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) is expected to resuscitate the province’s declining coffee industry.

He said the province is a recipient of a P130-million fund for the 13-kilometer Banneng-Gombowoy FMR in Tanudan town and the P180 million 15.8-kilometer Bulanao-Amlao FMR in this city.

According to Bakilan, these projects are ongoing to improve access roads particularly to the provinces’ top coffee-producing villages.

Meanwhile, Grace Baluyan, Trade and Industry provincial director, said local coffee processors are gaining shares in the local and national markets, and even abroad.

At good market conditions, traders in the province buy a kilo of dry coffee beans at P85 to P95.

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