Innovative campaign raises farmers incomes by 30%
Cavite had been sharing the Luzon coffee glory with Batangas until the Cavite AA variety made it to export and became a world-class “in demand” origin for Robusta and of late, for specialty Kalaboso Barako or Liberica.
But the Philippine Coffee Board Inc (PCBI) knows that Cavite coffee can join the ranks of world class specialty Robustas, just like how Sulu and Negros are doing it lately. Sulu has become the named origin for Specialty coffee.
Cavite’s 6000 MT of coffee can very well use more value rather than just being a coffee source for soluble coffee or mixed “no grade” roast and ground coffee. Just imagine, if 100MT of coffee can fetch a premium of 20-30%, that would really make a difference in the farmers’ lives.
The country still only produces 25,000MT with Cavite and Sultan Kudarat as leading Robusta producers at 6000MT each. The value of the coffee Cavite can produce can go up with a premium worth P180 Million just by picking red cherries and having them washed at the wet mill the PCBI will be setting up.
Imagine P180 Million for say 1000 farmers. That’s a premium of P180,000 per person bringing 6,000 kilos each to the wet mill. If a farmer picks the fruits while unripe yet, he has to wait 30 days for it to dry completely and be of the right moisture. Picking red and having it processed immediately gives the farmer his money almost instantaneously.
The Philippine Coffee Board Inc (PCBI) will be conducting farmer trainings this harvest season which starts November and lasts well into January each year.
“We have trained farmers in Benguet and all the way down to Sulu,” says Nicholas Matti, PCBI Chair. “Now we are coming back to our roots, which is Cavite,” he continues.
“Barako and Robusta are plentiful in Cavite,” says Dr Mojica, PCBI Director.”If we just add value, younger farmers may be enticed to go back to coffee farming,” he declares.
PCBI is also tasked to establish Robusta cupping laboratories to improve the quality of Robusta, which comprises 90% of our coffee production. Specialty Robusta coffee graders called R graders will also be developed by PCBI to get more value for farmers in the Robusta coffee variety.
The PCBI will start in Cavite, and hopefully spread the word in other Robusta areas in Luzon. The average market price for Robusta is now P90-100/kilo of green beans and P120 for the washed organic kinds.
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