By Vina Medenilla
Over the past years, coffee production in the country has been dwindling despite the growing demand for it. Aging farmers, coffee growers switching to other crops, and conversion of agricultural land to real estate are all contributing factors to this decline.
In a bid to address these challenges, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be releasing a revised Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap this year.
The new industry roadmap is expected to boost the numbers of coffee trees and address the imbalance of supply and demand for coffee.
In line with this, the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI), a non-profit organization founded in May 2002, launches a long-term planting program called ‘Plant Coffee, Pilipinas!’
The goal of this project is to sustainably produce Philippine coffee, help farmers boost their coffee yields, and reforest the degraded lands.
This will help the country secure a continuous supply of coffee without relying on imports amid the rising coffee prices in the global market.
PCBI works hand in hand with a network of coffee growers from different areas in the country to which the public can donate.
How to adopt a tree?
The public can take part in this movement by adopting a coffee seedling for a farmer for P600. Each donation will include the donor’s name for six months.
Donors can also choose from the available areas where they want the seedlings planted. They will receive monthly emails from the farmers who will care for their adopted seedlings, plus they can meet them personally when the situation permits.
The trees may also be tracked online.
Partnering with coffee farmers
Among the coffee farmers in this program is a young duo from the indigenous tribe in Barlig, Mountain Province. In hopes of promoting rainforest conservation in their province, they are implementing a project they call Barlig Rainforest Coffee Project (BRCP).
Road construction, illegal logging, and unregulated hunting are among the problems that the Barlig rainforest is currently facing, according to Daniel Maches of BRCP.
During the virtual media launch, Maches also highlighted that it is not only the rainforest they are protecting, but also their cultural integrity as indigenous people.
The two young farmers behind the BRCP have planted 400 Arabica seedlings, and they are aiming to plant an additional 1,600 coffee seedlings this year. They continue to learn the best practices in raising coffee with the guidance of other experienced farmers.
“This is a good time to expand capacity, create more volume, and most especially a good time to create more jobs,” said Guillermo ‘Bill’ M. Luz, founding trustee of PCBI, during the launch of the Plant Coffee, Pilipinas!
“This is a long-term generational type of activity. We encourage everyone to support long-term generational growth in the provinces among coffee farmers.”
Luz also encouraged Filipinos to support local growers and drink Philippine coffee rather than imported varieties.
For more information, visit the Philippine Coffee Board