Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The Philippine Coffee Industry Needs ‘To Run’ to Overtake Vietnam
Despite having been overtaken by Vietnam as a top coffee producer in the Asian region, players in the Philippine coffee industry remain upbeat as the government hiked by P63 million its financial support to the industry.
“The coffee sector needs to run, not walk, if it wants to play catch up with Vietnam,” Rolando T. Dy of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said on Thursday during the Fourth National Coffee Summit.
However, Dy, executive director of the UA&P Center for Food and Agribusiness, noted that it will be difficult to even approximate the production level of Vietnam without a road map “and if the industry road map is tied to an incumbent.”
“It should cover 10 to 15 years so we’re looking at 2020 or even better, 2025 for the Philippines,” Dy told the BusinessMirror on the sidelines of the coffee conference in Makati City.
According to Philippine Coffee Board (PCB) Director Emmanuel U. Torrejon, the Philippines’s coffee production continued to decline to nearly 23,000 metric tons last year from 40,620 MT in 1999 and 61,080 MT in 1992.
Vietnam continued to increase coffee production from 83,400 MT nine years ago to 1.11 million metric tons last year.
“It’s still mission possible,” Environment Assistant Secretary Marlo D. Mendoza said in the same conference.
Mendoza noted that the aim to hike coffee production can be included in the government’s National Convergence Initiative (NCI) program that has allotted 10 large tracks of agricultural lands with high production potential.
Mendoza said coffee producers can plant in areas allotted for cultivation of the total 750 million hectares targeted for greening by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Jerry E. Pacturan added that the coffee farmers can also tap the Department of Agrarian Reform’s financial support of P13,400 a hectare for coffee planting.
Pacturan told the BusinessMirror that coffee farmers through the PCB can also tap other agencies involved in the NCI, foremost being the Department of Agriculture (DA), to increase the funding support.
Mendoza said they are also proposing an environmental cash-transfer program that coffee farmers, especially those in the upland, can enjoy in exchange for certain services like purposive planting, as well as demand certain standards and behaviors under the National Greening Program.
PCB official Pacita Juan told the BusinessMirror that they are overwhelmed with the pledges of support from the government.
Juan explained that the DA has allocated an initial P100 million next year for the propagation of coffee.
“That’s enough for the moment,” she said.
Dwindling harvest has undercut the local market’s capability to meet increasing coffee consumption in the Philippines, which was only at 49,200 MT a decade ago to 77,400 MT last year, according to Torrejon.
The country, hence, was forced to hike imports of coffee from 47,700 MT in 2008 to 54,420 MT last year.
By Business Mirror
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