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When Benguet State University (BSU) started an Arabica coffee extension program to further educate and train farmers and other stakeholders in the Cordilleras, it did not foresee that it would eventually evolve into a formal seed-to-cup quality coffee education program. Professor Valentino Macanes, BSU’s Director of Institute of Highland Farming Systems and Agroforestry (IHFSA), was responsible for continuing and enhancing this program.

Today, BSU has developed a package for technology for Arabica coffee from seed to cup, complete with its own technology demonstration farm on Arabica coffee production with post-harvest processing facilities.

“The BSU level of coffee education is established and organized. It encompasses research, extension, instruction and production,” Director Valentino Macanes of BSU’s IHFSA stated. “It has its own technology demonstration farm of Arabica coffee under the Benguet Pine Agrofestry System. Hence, its coffee education comprises seed to cup, with experienced instructors recognized in their respective fields of specialization. BSU has garnered local and international recognition and awards in coffee technologies.”

“The Arabica coffee techno-demo farm of BSU started by Professor Dimas in 1977 as a special agroforestry demo-farm. He conducted initial experiments on plantings of Arabica coffee seedlings under the Benguet Pine using various planting distance, hole depth and fertilization. He was able to develop a technology of planting Arabica coffee under the Benguet Pine forest, which is a recognized breakthrough in coffee production. This was further refined through scientific data and researches,” Macanes revealed.

In 2007-2008, the BSU coffee farms were internationally recognized as an Organic Producer and Marketer of Arabica Coffee. This was made possible by a MOA with Figaro Foundation through the leadership of Chit Juan, Macanes affirmed. “To date, it is the anchor of all Arabica researches and extension work of BSU. It also serves as the venue for trainings and techno-demo farm for Arabica coffee production and post-harvest processing. It is visited by local and international coffee scientists, students, researchers, businessmen, and other coffee stakeholders.”

He elaborated on BSU’s role in coffee education. “The trainings on coffee education are conducted for farmers, extension workers, students, and other stakeholders of both government and private institutions. BSU is an education and training provider. Oftentimes, BSU is requested by both government and non-government agencies to be the resource person or trainor.”

The coffee cupping laboratory was conceptualized by the University, PCBI and the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR). “The laboratory will serve as initial training venue for future cuppers and baristas. In fact, it is already being utilized for coffee cupping experiences by coffee farmers, researchers, students, and other stakeholders,” Macanes elaborated.

Indeed, Macanes believes that the unified support of the government, NGOs, private sectors, and individuals for coffee education in the Philippines is vital for the realization and sustainability of the Philippine coffee industry.




Posted in March 2018, The Ultimate Coffee Guide and tagged , , , , , , , , , .