TOURISM can be a ticket to promote Philippine coffee.
This is the direction of the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) as bared by its President Pacita Juan.
“To promote the coffee industry, our direction now is to push for coffee tourism,” she said in a press conference last October 24 at the SMX Convention Center–Lanang during the 10TH National Coffee Summit.
She added that they already connected with the Department of Tourism to realize this vision.
“Tourists nowadays want interactive tourist products and harvesting coffee in a farm, we believe, can lure local and foreign tourists at the same time through this we can promote our coffee, particularly specialty coffee which gaining interest now among farmers and industry players,” Juan said.
Initially, PCBI, she said, will be orienting DOT’s tour guides for a Coffee Harvest experience in Cavite, and soon in Baguio and Bukidnon and DOT will be bringing coffee farm tours to coffee-growing areas especially during harvest time.
For Davao City, Juan mentioned that they identified Mt. Apo as a viable tourism site for a coffee harvest experience.
“For as long as there is mountain, tourists will be there because we have a lot of climbers and trekkers,” she said.
She explained that when the harvest tours start, farmers will have help in harvesting only the ripe ones, and may invite several rounds of tourists as the coffee ripens over time.
“As tourists will harvest only the ‘red’ or ripe fruits, the farmers will be assured of better quality harvests. It is good business sense for the farmer and for the tour operator,” Juan shared.
Tourism undersecretary Alma Rita Jimenez supports this plan and said that “Come and harvest with us” campaign can be of good tourism value.
Specialty Coffee awareness increasing
Juan said that awareness of specialty coffee is increasing. More consumers and coffee roasters are buying specialty coffee at a good price.
“Our market now is the specialty roasters who pay triple higher than of what ordinary roaster pay. In America they are asking top quality of coffee. This is how we will empower our farmers, since we had a huge problem on supply, we can still tap the specialty coffee market. Now, farmers’ knowledge on this is improving,” she said.
At present, Robusta is now being bought by specialty roasters at P150 per kilo as compared to ordinary buying price at P80 to P90 per kilo while Arabica is being bought at P250 per kilo as compared to P140 –P150 per kilo of the ordinary buying price in the market.
In the Philippines, some 10 percent is being served by specialty coffee of the total demand by coffee drinkers while 15 to 20 percent of the total global demand is served by specialty coffee.
“A lot are really looking for it now, more people are willing to pay the price in exchange of quality coffee. Look at the 3rd wave coffee shops that are sprouting in the Philippine market. I think the specialty market is growing thus, the Filipino coffee palate is changing,” She said.
Some of the Mindanao specialty coffees graded 86% are Bukidnon’s Kape Maramag (Robusta) and Inhandig Tribal Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Arabica), both won last year’s Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Quality competition.