We may as well call ourselves the Asian Coffee Group, but since only Southeast Asian countries still produce most of the coffees of the world, we have called ourselves the Asean Coffee Federation.
In fact, 85 percent of Robusta coffee (one of four varieties we grow in the country) drank worldwide comes from Vietnam and Indonesia. How significant to be one of the coffee-producing countries, even if our production remains small and our consumption as a country continues to grow.
Last year, the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCB) was invited to be a member of the ACF and we attended several meetings throughout the year, starting off with one in January 2011 in Pakse, Laos, and the last one held last week in Singapore.
In Singapore, we had the chance to listen to coffee experts of Bero Coffee on global coffee demand and the Head of Hans R. Neumann Stiftung, Michael Opitz, who spoke about sustainable development in coffee.
It might interest the reader to note that in 2020, coffee will be in short supply to the tune of 30 million bags per year (each bag is 60 kg). There are only 25 million producers of coffee with 80 percent of them in small holder communities. The shortage simply is a result of farmers not being happy with buying prices of coffee.
Secondly, there hardly is any help for farmers to increase their yields to say Vietnam’s 2 and a half kilos per tree or 2.5 metric tons per hectare. The Philippines’ average yield is 300-700 kgs per hectare and that is also why we keep losing farmers to other crops.