• Outlook for Cordillera coffee farmers upbeat

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    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: The outlook is bright for coffee farmers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

    In a recent Investment Clinic on Arabica Coffee held here attended by seed and seedling growers, nursery operators and other stakeholders, the speakers emphasized that seedling and coffee bean production have assured potential markets waiting.

    Joan Bacbac, high-value crop development program coordinator of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR), said their office will need by next year 633,000 certified coffee seedlings to be distributed in the region.

    But organizations interested in joining the bidding for government procurement should have duly certified seedlings and accredited nurseries by the Bureau of Plant Industry, she said.

    Thus, the DA-CAR is pushing for the accreditation of nurseries and certification of trees and seedlings based on standards competitive with the global market.

    To date, there are three farms with accredited nurseries: the Ambuklao Coffee Growers Association in Bokod; Trentwood in Tuba; and Maknat in Puguis, La Trinidad, all in Benguet, said supervising agriculturist Juliet Ochasan of the Bureau of Plant Industry(BPI)—Baguio.

    One is already in the pipeline while about five coffee growers groups intend to have their coffee nurseries certified the soonest, she added.

    Ochasan stressed the importance of registered seedlings with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) with traceability of origin certified by the BPI.

    There are three strains of Arabica Coffee which are registered with the NSIC and developed by BPI—Baguio in 2008, namely Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, and Caturra.

    Philippine Coffee Alliance (PCA) president Alvira Reyes encouraged coffee farmers to strengthen the coffee industry in the province, saying that coffee is a lucrative business.

    The soluble coffee industry is a P30 billion yearly business venture while the cafe business is also lucrative, Alviar said, dding that the country still imports 60 percent of coffee for local consumption.

    She said that the profit margin from green beans to a cup of coffee is “at least 1,000 percent.”

    The PCA has established partnerships with 45 facilities nationwide to buy coffee beans at a higher price, making it one of the potential markets for coffee farmers. Its advocacy is to transform farmers into farmer entrepreneurs from production and diversification into value-adding ventures following the value chain approach.

    Patricio Ananayo, former division chief of the Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, said that coffee farmers’ interest in pursuing production was rekindled with the entry of PCA.

    He said the alliance has been instrumental in boosting the confidence of coffee growers buying coffee beans at a higher cost, or at P90.00 per kilogram, sometime in mid 2000 when the cost was only P30.00 per kilo.

    PCA has raised its buying price to P120.00 per kilo, said Ananayo. It has a network of coffee farmers in Benguet Province in Padcal, Tuba.

    PCA’s Reyes cited some credit facilities which could financially assist coffee growers in expanding their production.

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