New listing so farmers earn double just by protecting the variety
The coffee variety, ARABICA, is now officially in the Slow Food’s Ark of Taste as the number of trees in Benguet continue to dwindle. Many reasons contribute to its declining population, such as climate change, coupled with the diminishing interest of the younger generation to go into coffee farming.
In the Slow Food Presidia program, the focus will be to preserve this variety by encouraging farmers to protect it from extinction.
This can be supported by coffee drinkers who will be conscious to drink more Benguet coffee to keep the farmers sustainable. “Choose Benguet whenever you can,” says Slow Food officer Elena Aniere who presented to Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña and International Women’s Coffee Alliance-PH chapter President Pacita Juan the possibilities for Benguet Arabica.
Just recently the three ladies met at the Slow Food Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, Italy to let Italian media and other international visitors taste the coffee. It was brought roasted then brewed using a Japanese V-60 hand dripper by a master barista from Italy.
The now endangered variety was also featured in the Alberto Marchetti Gelateria and Caffe in Via Po in downtown Turin.
Benguet is projected to produce over 400 Metric tons of the variety or about P100 Million pesos at today’s market prices of P250 per kilo for green beans. Peaberry beans are sold for P300 per kilo. Manila roasters scamper to Benguet to get what they can because of the increase in demand for this coffee origin.
“We’re happy to find new markets for coffee just like for the Barako,” says Chit Juan, currently also the Philippine Coffee Board Inc.(PCBI) Co-chair and President. “With Benguet Arabica being listed in the Ark of Taste, international Slow Food advocates will surely want to taste this,” she says.
With renewed interest in the Benguet Arabica coffee variety, farmers will double their income (from what used to be P120 per kilo at farmgate) and will hopefully continue to propagate and plant this endangered kind. If all the produce will be sold to specialty markets, farmers can reach a potential income of P200 Million even without roasting their coffee as many suggest they do, to add value.