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Philippines' "Kapeng Barako"

DA seals partnership with Nestle for coffee dev’t


Philippines' "Kapeng Barako"
Philippines’ “Kapeng Barako”

LAGUNA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Nestle Philippines Incorporated renewed their cooperation on the development of the local coffee industry through expansion of nurseries in the country.

“This partnership aims to help uplift the lives of the country’s coffee farmers and fill the gap in the local coffee supply and demand,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said.

Alcala and Nestle Philippines Chairman and CEO John Martin Miller sealed a Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of new robusta coffee nurseries in five areas all over the country totaling to over 30 hectares on October 27, 2014 in Rockwell Club, Makati City.

The Agri chief said that the agreement aims to boost the productivity of the country’s coffee farmers by making available excellent planting materials.

“The joint venture, likewise, aims to empower local farmers to sell their coffee produce at competitive market price,” he added.

“Through this, the DA aims to enable farmers to acquire good planting materials for their farm and benefit from Nestle’s advanced technology on coffee production,” he continued.

“With the domestic demand of more than 70, 000 metric tons (MT) of green coffee beans, our current production is only about 30, 000 MT. Thus the partnership will help us fill the gap of more than 40, 000 MT,” explained Alcala.

Miller said that Nestle’s renewed partnership with the government is a clear manifestation of the steadfast commitment of all parties involved towards the uplift of the agriculture sector in the country, and in particular of the livelihoods of coffee-growing farmers.

“Since 2010, our partnership has extended reach to no less than 32, 000 farmers and provided nine million robusta coffee plantlets to those farmers,” he said.

“The 12.5-hectare Bukidnon Integrated Coffee Center (BICC) in NOMIARC established in 2011 which houses a mother plant garden, a plantlet nursery, training center, and a demo farm composting area has increased plantlet capacity by 25% translating to about 500, 000 plantlets and allowed more farmers to access to these much needed planting materials.”

“The MoA signing guarantees additional nursery and R&D capacity not only to the BICC but also to further regions across the country,” added Miller.

Based on industry reports, coffee farming in the country is dominated by small farmers who mostly own an average of one to two hectares farm, and a large percentage of local coffee trees are matured at about 20 years and above.

“Obtaining excellent planting materials are important to enable farmers to replace old trees or start new coffee farms,” Alcala explained.

He added that the partnership will have the capability to assist the need for more planting materials of the coffee industry to attain coffee self sufficiency and uplift the lives of small coffee farmers.

The five areas for the nurseries to be established under the MoA include: Quirino Experimental Station (QES) in Quirino, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in Bukidnon, Central Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CEMIARC) in North Cotabato, Trento Research and Experimental Station in Agusan del Sur, and expansion of the previously established nursery in Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (NOMIARC) in Bukidnon.

High Value Crop Development Program Director Jennifer Remoquilo explained that the DA provided the areas which Nestle will use in establishing nurseries and clonal gardens for development of improved robusta coffee seedling varieties.

She added that the seedlings produced in these nurseries will not only help local farmers obtain good planting materials, but is aimed to help other government agencies involved in coffee expansion program as well including Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of National Defense, Philippine Coconut Authority, and Local Government Units among others.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.