Coffee production down 7.40%

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 November) — Coffee production in the country decreased by 7.40 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year due to land conversion and continuous rains in the second quarter that hit most coffee-producing areas especially in Mindanao.

Jennifer Remoquillo, officer-in-charge of high value crops development program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said yesterday in the 2nd Philippine Coffee Investors’ Forum at Marco Polo Davao Hotel that Mindanao’s coffee-growing areas experienced the bulk of the decrease.

“The production went down as cutting of less productive trees was reported in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao City and Davao Oriental … The rains in the second quarter in Bukidnon, Maguindanao and Surigao del Sur adversely affected the production in the third quarter,” she said.

She said the reduced area and number of bearing trees in Batangas due to land conversion also contributed to the decline in production this year.

Last year, the country produced 94,536 metric tons in 121,399 hectares.

Citing the data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, she said that the production last year was 2.31-percent down from the 2009 volume. The lower yield of coffee last year was attributed to the long dry spell, land conversion to housing areas in Davao City and late maturity of coffee berries in Cavite.

The top coffee-producing area in the country last year was Region XII that comprises South Cotabato, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City which accounted for 27,761 metric tons or 29% of the total production.

Davao Region followed with 22,682 metric tons and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 10,803 metric tons. The annual local demand for coffee beans, meanwhile, is pegged at 64,000 metric tons with an estimated value of P5 billion.

The DA will allocate P163 million by next year to address the decline in the country’s coffee production especially in Mindanao. The bulk of the budget will be spent on farm tools and establishment of nurseries.

At least P50 million will be appropriated for postharvest facilities.

Farmers will be further trained on the technology of coffee production with the help of Nestle Philippines Inc., the biggest buyer of green coffee in the country. (MindaNews)