DA stirs up Cordillera production for stronger coffee sector


LA TRINIDAD Benguet — To meet local demand and participate in the international market, the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) will undertake rehabilitation projects on aging coffee plants and expand areas for production in the region.

In an interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA), Narciso Edillo, Regional Executive Director of DA-CAR said on Monday his agency is aggressively pursuing rehabilitation projects of coffee plants in the region, specifically in the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, and Kalinga.

At present, technical people from DA-CAR have been dispatched specifically in coffee growing areas of the said provinces to conduct ocular inspections and inventories for inclusion in the project. The move is in coordination with the provincial and municipal agriculture offices together with other stakeholders.

Edillo added his agency will expand production areas of the commodity, noting that the climatic condition in the Cordillera is suited for growing coffee beans.

Aside from Arabica and Robusta varieties, the DA official said other coffee varieties like Excelsa and Liberica would be planted in the expansion areas.

Although he did not specifically reveal the sources of funds for the “gigantic” projects, Edillo hinted that the Philippine Coffee Council (PCC) will be assisting the agency in strengthening Cordillera’s coffee industry.

On Feb. 27 to 28, this capital town will hold its first “Coffee Festival”, which aims to boost the competitiveness of the industry and to open other opportunities for the stakeholders.

Products from the Cordillera Administrative Region like coffee, heirloom rice, and highland vegetable topped the initial areas to be covered by the DA under its Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Exposition (ASPIRE) project.

ASPIRE is focused on improving the quality of the production and supply of locally produced agricultural products in the country. It is a joint initiative of DA, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc.

The program has four components: production support, enterprise development and marketing support, agribusiness and promotion, and market promotion and development.

In recent years, the Executive Committee of the Cordillera Regional Development Council had identified four strategies to boost the coffee industry to include increasing productivity, expanding production, increasing the profit of coffee farmers and entrepreneurs, and improving the quality of coffee beans produced. PNA-northboundasia.com