2 robusta coffee varieties from PH shine in World of Coffee

A caretaker checks coffee seedlings at a nursery in Libona, Bukidnon on Wednesday (11 October 2017). The municipality of Libona is giving away 50,000 Robusta and 20,000 Arabica coffee seedlings to its farmers to encourage coffee farming. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 July) – Coffee beans proved to be “very competitive” after two robusta coffee varieties produced in the Philippines impressed professional cuppers during the World of Coffee held from June 23 to 25 in Milan, Italy.
The two varieties earned “excellent and astounding” feedback from the cuppers, TJ Ryan, chief of party of the US Department of Agriculture-funded Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) said.

Robusta beans produced by Mabini Ubuan of Ilocos Sur and Lovern Estrada of Senator Ninoy Aquino town in Sultan Kudarat were exhibited during the international cupping event alongside beans from Brazil, Vietnam, Uganda, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Laos, he said.

Ubuan and Estrada won first and second place, respectively, during the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition 2022 last March in Davao.
“The cuppers who are all professional cuppers and buyers — they were able to compare the Philippines to Guatemala, Brazil, Vietnam, Ecuador… and they were quite favorable about the Philippines, they were very impressed,” Ryan said.
He acknowledged that much needs to be done to increase coffee production in the country, but added that the problem of volume can be addressed, which presents an opportunity for farmers to venture into coffee growing or expand their existing farms.
“Volume is not yet competitive yet but that’s a problem we can solve but in quality, the Philippines can compete,” he said
He said there is a huge domestic demand for coffee, with the Philippines being a net importer.
Ryan added the PhilCAFE project hopes to help increase the production of coffee beans.
“We are doing our best to make the case that coffee growing is profitable, and I think we are succeeding, but it’s a slow process… For coffee, it’s a multiyear commitment. You really have to make a good case to convince farmers to plant and produce coffee,” he said.
The project, which is an offshoot of the Mindanao Productivity in Agriculture Commerce and Trade, aims to increase the production of conventional and specialty coffee, increase coffee exports, and build capacity and expand service provision of coffee value chain actors.

Its activities are centered on improving public-private coordination to promote the coffee industry; expanding extension services to increase adoption of good agricultural practices (GAP) and improved technologies; supporting the establishment of nurseries and strengthen retail input agents; increasing the capacity of producer organizations as a critical link in the value chain; improving post-harvest handling and processing to maintain quality characteristics; facilitating agricultural lending to close the financing gap across the value chain; leveraging public and private investment to scale and sustain results; and highlighting the diversity of Filipino coffee origins and facilitate linkages to specialty and conventional coffee buyers.
Ryan also announced that it is organizing a Philippine Coffee Expo on September 14 to 15, at the SMX Convention Center.
The event, touted as the “largest gathering of key stakeholders” in the coffee industry, is expected to draw 1,400 participants from all over the Philippines “who will converge and tackle the industry’s challenges and opportunities through technical discussions, breakout sessions, networking activities, and Philippine coffee-related promotion initiatives.”
There will be a coffee trade and exhibit of about 100 coffee producing organizations, companies, and key players in the country’s coffee market systems. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)