Better outlook for Davao coffee growers seen

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 March) – Brighter prospects await specialty coffee growers here as the domestic and global demand continues to flourish, following the increasing popularity of Mindanao coffee in the world, Manny Quisol, business development adviser of ACDI/VOCA PhilCafe Project said.

Speaking during “Wednesday’s at Habi at Kape,” Quisol said more Mindanao coffee farmers are producing specialty Arabica and fine Robusta amid calls to explore the premium niche market to seize the growing global trend high-quality coffee beans.

Picking red cherry coffees in Bansalan, Davao del Sur. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

He said Davao, for instance, has a growing number of the third-wave coffee shops serving Mindanao’s premium quality beans such as Coffee for Peace, Frog Kaffee and Roastery, Purge and Mugshot that promote locally grown beans to customers.

“In Davao, specialty coffee is a flourishing industry. We have more third-wave coffee shops serving Mindanao coffee. What they mostly serve now are our specialty coffee beans,” he added.

He said among the areas that grow specialty beans are Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon, and provinces within the Mt. Apo Range.

There is high acceptance among locals for Mindanao-grown specialty coffee, seeing an increasing demand for premium beans, most especially among millennial customers who have shown keen interest in supporting local brands and farmers, he said.

Quisol, however, said that specialty coffee production could not meet the rapidly increasing demand.

“With regard to acceptance, there is no problem. There is a huge market locally. It is the supply that has become a problem, the consistency in the volume. The production is a problem,” he said.

He added Mindanao specialty coffees are comparable with the ones produced by premium quality-growing African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya.

He said Mindanao has a vast area for coffee expansion.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed coffee production in Mindanao in 2018 reached 49,124 metric tons, lower by 3.58-percent compared to 50,948.64 MT in 2017.

Region 12 produced 19,901 MT of coffee, the highest among Mindanao’s six regions.

Quisol said of the total, only about five percent is considered specialty coffee.

He said they encourage farmers to produce premium quality beans as they command a higher price compared to commercial grade beans.

He said specialty Arabica coffee is sold for P500 to P600 per kilo compared to P100 per kilo for commercial grade, and fine Robusta is sold for P180 per kilo compared to P70 per kilo for commercial grade. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)