The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) vowed to prioritize coffee producers in the government’s assistance for small businesses to accelerate their production in the next four years.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the government remains firm on its commitment to make the country on a par with the world’s top coffee producers, such as Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia and Honduras. He added the DTI and Department of Agriculture are “working closely” to achieve the objectives of the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022 a year after it was signed by President Duterte.
“We have to have a patriotic drive to encourage demand for Philippine coffee. We are encouraging local producers to expand coffee production to create the demand,” Lopez said.
He added local growers should take advantage of the Filipinos’ coffee consumption, which is one of the highest in the world. Proof to this, the Philippines is the top importer of soluble coffee and fourth-highest importer in the world.
Under the coffee road map, the country is aiming to create a coffee industry that is “cost-competitive,” aligned with global quality standards and reliable and environment-friendly. The framework is also intended to provide sustainable benefits to farmers, processors, traders and exporters in a bid to reach food security and poverty alleviation.
The coffee road map is also aimed at raising annual coffee production to 214,626 metric tons by 2022 from the estimated 37,000 MT each year. If accomplished, this will increase the country’s self-sufficiency level to 161 percent from 41.60 percent.
To achieve this, Lopez said the DTI will be “unwavering” in assisting local growers with their production and finding markets.
“Through the DTI’s 7Ms [Mindset change, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market access and Models of business], we will continue to provide enabling mechanisms to empower coffee farmers and help in addressing the challenges in the industry,” he explained.
Lopez assured there are enough consumers for coffee growers to service, with the country’s current demand for coffee at 90 percent and imports of the staple amounting to P12 billion. He added the demand is also increasing by the day with broadening consumption among younger people.
Due to the Philippines’s favorable location and tropical climate, it can produce four varieties of coffee, namely, robusta, arabica, excelsa and liberica. At present, Soccsksargen produces the highest volume of coffee at 25,100 MT, followed by Davao (11,429 MT), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (10,341 MT), Northern Mindanao (5,604 MT) and Western Visayas (4,356 MT).
Coffee growers, along with trade and agriculture officials, recently discussed the future of the coffee road map at the Third Philippine Coffee Conference.
The discussion shed light on the strategies to achieve the goals of the coffee road map, trends in coffee-brewing methods, quality coffee farming of Arabica and fine Robusta, retailing a coffee business, financing for coffee business and coffee-business models.