The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has taken a major role in helping the country further develop its coffee industry, as Mindanao is well positioned to take the lead in the production of the commodity.
PhilMech spearheaded the hosting of the Coffee Expo in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, on Wednesday and Thursday, where the agency presented modern solutions to the production of dried coffee beans in Mindanao and the whole Philippines as well.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairman of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, keynoted the affair through a message that was read by a representative. In her message, the senator said she is a supporter of agricultural mechanization and lauded PhilMech for taking the lead in “mechanizing the coffee industry including the coffee enterprises.”
“I am a staunch supporter of incorporating research and development, technology and training in the agriculture sector to further improve agricultural mechanization efforts,” Villar said in her message.
Dionisio Alvindia, PhilMech executive director, said the demand for coffee worldwide is increasing but the country has not increased its production and continues to import coffee beans.
“Besides increasing the areas planted to coffee, we also need to address issues related to mechanization, postharvest and processing,” Alvindia said.
Based on data from the Department of Agriculture, the Philippine imports from 75,000 metric tons to 100,000 MT of dried coffee beans from Vietnam and Indonesia annually at a cost of P7 to P10 billion.
While local demand for dried coffee beans has been placed at 75,000 MT annually and is seen to rise to 100,000 MT in the coming years, local farmers only have the capacity to produce less than half of the demand.
Sultan Kudarat leads production
According to PhilMech, Mindanao currently leads in the local production of dried beans with Sultan Kudarat taking No. 1 spot with 21,119.24 MT in 2016 followed by Davao del Sur with 5,007.54 MT; Sulu, 4,802.30 MT; Bukidnon, 4,423.50 MT; Maguindanao, 3,401.85 MT; North Cotabato, 2,014.18 MT; and Basilan, 1,732.50 MT.
Outside Mindanao, Iloilo accounted for 2,722.32 MT; Kalinga, 2,080 MT; and Cavite, 1,811.68 MT.
Raul Paz, PhilMech deputy director, said the aspect of postharvest also needs to be addressed to help increase quality dried beans. “What we are currently doing at PhilMech is the introduction of technologies to stakeholders to improve the coffee industry,” he said.
He said a portable and low-cost Manual Coffee Pulper has been developed by PhilMech that can significantly help farmers reduce breakage of coffee cherries during the depulping process to help attain a high quality for coffee beans. The agency is also developing the Coffee Bean Color Sorter under that can speed up the sorting of coffee beans based on color and size.
PhilMech is also recommending the use of the Multi-Commodity Solar Tunnel Dryer for drying coffee beans. The agency also conducted a study on the supply chain for both Robusta and Arabica production, and came up with recommendations for a coffee processing system that is being adopted in various coffee producing areas in the country.