Negrense coffee farmers urged to practice intercropping

BACOLOD CITY — Coffee farmers in Negros Occidental particularly the recipients of the initial 20,000 seedlings distributed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) are urged to practice intercropping or diversified planting.

Marjo Balinas, commodity coordinator of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), said diversification of coffee plantations is more beneficial to farmers compared to monocropping.

At present, the province has about 2,700 hectares of coffee farms.

Balinas said farmers can inter-crop coffee with other crops such as cacao and other fruit trees which they can harvest before the one-year production period of coffee.

“In this practice, farmers can produce coffee only once a year while diversification provides more opportunities for them to generate higher production profit,” Balinas said.

Coffee farmers practicing diversification utilize only 400 to 600 seedlings per hectare while with monocropping, they would need 1,000 to 1,100 seedlings for a hectare of land.

The distributed six-month old qualified seedlings of coffee are able to bear fruits within 18 months.

Last week, the OPA released the seedlings of Robusta coffee from Davao City to recipient farmers.

A total of 5,000 seedlings each were given to Nataban Farmers Association in San Carlos City, A and G Esteban Farmers Association in Murcia, Patag and Guimbalaon Farmers Association in Silay City, Mailum Organic Village Association in Bago City, and the City Government of Bacolod.

Balinas said the project also seeks to address the shortage in coffee supply in Negros Occidental and to achieve the provincial government’s target to become coffee self-sufficient by 2020.

He added that the DA still has to distribute 55,000 seedlings for Negros Occidental under last year’s quota, and the supply is expected to arrive within the year.

Including the 55,000 seedlings from 2015, Negros Occidental is expected to get 110,000 coffee seedlings this year that will cover a total of about 100 hectares of coffee plantations. PNA/